Left Menu
Development News Edition

Oldest solid meteorite material found in Australia

A meteorite that fell in Australia back in 1999 has the oldest solid meteorite material found on Earth till date, proved a recent study.

ANI | Washington DC | Updated: 14-01-2020 20:46 IST | Created: 14-01-2020 20:46 IST
Oldest solid meteorite material found in Australia
Representational Image. Image Credit: ANI

A meteorite that fell in Australia back in 1999 has the oldest solid meteorite material found on Earth till date, proved a recent study. The research indicates that stars are like phoenixes, after one dies, their dust and bits travel through space and eventually forms new stars, along with new planets, meteorites and satellites.

This study was contributed by researchers from the Field Museum, University of Chicago, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Washington University, Harvard Medical School, ETH Zurich, and the Australian National University. "This is one of the most exciting studies I have worked on," says Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, associate professor at the University of Chicago, and lead author of a paper describing the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The materials Heck and his colleagues examined are called presolar grains-minerals formed before the Sun was born. "They're solid samples of stars, real stardust," says Heck. These bits of stardust became trapped in meteorites where they remained unchanged for billions of years, making them time capsules of the time before the solar system.

But presolar grains are hard to come by. Theyare rare, found only in about five per cent of meteorites that have fallen to Earth, and they are tiny-a hundred of the biggest ones would fit on the period at the end of this sentence. But the Field Museum has the largest portion of the Murchison meteorite, a treasure trove of presolar grains that fell in Australia in 1969 and that the people of Murchison, Victoria, made available to science.

Presolar grains for this study were isolated from the Murchison meteorite for this study about 30 years ago at the University of Chicago. The researchers learned that some of the presolar grains in their sample were the oldest ever discovered-based on how many cosmic rays they'd soaked up, most of the grains had to be 4.6 to 4.9 billion years old, and some grains were even older than 5.5 billion years. For context, our Sun is 4.6 billion years old, and Earth is 4.5 billion.

But the age of the presolar grains wasn't the end of the discovery. Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars. And 7 billion years ago, there was apparently a bumper crop of new stars forming-a sort of astral baby boom. "We have more young grains that we expected," says Heck. Their hypothesis is that the majority of those grains, which are 4.9 to 4.6 billion years old, formed in an episode of enhanced star formation. There was a time before the start of the Solar System when more stars formed than normal.

This finding is ammo in a debate between scientists about whether or not new stars form at a steady rate, or if there are highs and lows in the number of new stars over time. He goes on, "But thanks to these grains, we now have direct evidence for a period of enhanced star formation in our galaxy seven billion years ago with samples from meteorites. This is one of the key findings of our study."

Heck notes that this isn't the only unexpected thing his team found. As almost a side note to the main research questions, in examining the way that the minerals in the grains interacted with cosmic rays, the researchers also learned that presolar grains often float through space stuck together in large clusters, "like granola," says Heck. "No one thought this was possible at that scale." Heck and his colleagues look forward to all of these discoveries furthering our knowledge of our galaxy.

Heck notes that there are lifetimes' worth of questions left to answer about presolar grains and the early Solar System. "I wish we had more people working on it to learn more about our home galaxy, the Milky Way," he concluded. (ANI)



Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Smart healthcare: IoT redefining the way healthcare is delivered

As the world is embracing the new wave of digitalization triggered by the pandemic and the arrival of 5G, the adoption of IoT devices will further boom. With adoption set to soar, IoT security issues and other challenges cant be ignored any...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...


Latest News

EU considering stopgap measure for UK financial services post Brexit, says EU diplomat

European Union assessments of whether to grant market access for banks and other financial firms from Britain will not be completed in time for January and stop-gap measures are being considered, an EU diplomat said on Thursday.Britains unf...

Low-cost carrier FlyDubai begins Israel flights after deal

The low-cost carrier FlyDubai began regular flights to Tel Aviv on Thursday, the latest sign of the normalization deal taking hold between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. FlyDubai flight No. FZ1163 landed at Ben-Gurion International Ai...

Global HIV toll likely to be far higher owing to COVID-19, warns UNAIDS

In its appeal, the specialised UN agency UNAIDS warned that the pandemic has pushed the worlds AIDS response even further off track and that 2020 targets are being missed.It urged countries to learn from the lessons of underinvesting in hea...

On 26/11 anniversary, anti-Pakistan protests held worldwide

Protests are being held in many countries condemning Pakistans involvement in the 2611 Mumbai attacks in 2008, calling for an end to state-sponsored terrorism by the country. In Belgium and Egypt, several mobile banners were rolled out, dem...

Give Feedback