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First Solar System solids formed much more rapidly than previously thought

13 Nov 2019, 14:21 UTC
First Solar System solids formed much more rapidly than previously thought
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The first solid materials in the Solar System could have formed in a matter of days, rather than the few thousand or tens of thousands of years estimated previously. This is the conclusion of a team of researchers who used secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to measure the isotopic composition of minerals in chondritic meteorites – primitive objects left over from the era when solid material was just beginning to condense around the Sun. The result sheds new light on conditions in this era and provides additional data for modelling the formation of planetary systems.
Both stars and planets are believed to form via the gravitational collapse of disks of hot gas and dust. In our Solar System, material in this protoplanetary disk began accruing around 4.5 billion years ago, and scientists had thought that the accretion process took place over many thousands of years, as dust particles condensed and collided together.
There is, however, some uncertainty about exactly when the materials began to condense. Theories based on the cooling rates of igneous materials refer only to melting and crystallization rates of solids, rather than the original gas-solid condensation. An alternative method based on the radioactive decay of 26Al into ...

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