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Ceramic Chips in Meteorites Mean Wild Days in Early Solar System

22 Feb 2021, 22:44 UTC
Ceramic Chips in Meteorites Mean Wild Days in Early Solar System
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IMAGE:This artist’s concept illustrates a solar system that is a much younger version of our own. New evidence from meteorites suggests the sun’s early days were not as quiet as previously thought. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech

From rocky planet fragments in the outer layers of white dwarfs, we turn to ceramic chips embedded in meteorites and break our previously held theories a little more.

Let’s start with the earlier theory that our Sun cooled gently and steadily over time, and the surrounding solar gas quietly condensed, creating these ceramic chips that ended up in meteorites. Then take one graduate student, Justin Hu, and let him analyze those chips using some of that radiometric dating we’ve been explaining the past week or so. Shake in a patented purification system developed by his research lab, and voila! You break a planetary formation theory.

As Hu explains: The results indicated that temperatures these ceramic inclusions encountered as they formed would have been over 1,600 Kelvin—or about 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit—over tens to hundreds of years.

What does that actually mean? It means that our Sun was not as quiet and gentle as previously thought and was, in fact, flaring and experiencing temperature fluctuations that affected the ...

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