A team of researchers from the University of Arizona has managed to discover a grain of dust released by a star which died billions of years ago. The discovery may change how researchers perceive dying stars and the raw material published during the process. These raw materials may have contributed to the formation of planets.
The trace of stardust was found in a chondritic meteorite collected from Antarctica. It is likely that a minor amount of material was ejected into space by a nova explosion before our sun appeared. While such grains are thought to be essential in the processes which led to the formation of the planets and our sun the chance to remain intact during the birth of a solar system are quite low.
One of the researchers has already noted that the presolar dust gives them a unique chance to observe the building blocks which helped our solar system to appear. It also allows them to see the conditions found in a star during the same period.
Ashes of a dying star to help scientists learn more about the origin of the Solar System
The sample, named LAP-149, is deemed to be the only know assemblage of graphite and silicate that can be linked to a specific star explosion. It is remarkable that it managed to survive through the harsh conditions of the void as it traveled that what would become our solar system.
One of the fascinating star systems come in the form of novae. The significant remnant of a star, called a white dwarf, slowly breaks down while accompanied by a red giant or a low –mass star. The white dwarf will begin to consume material from it and when a critical level is reached it will emit violent outbursts which push some of these materials into space.
Advanced technology was used to analyze the dust sample at an atomic level, and it was confirmed that it comes from outer space. The results were published in a peer-reviewed journal.