(ORDO NEWS) — Meteorites are amazing objects – when viewed under a microscope, you can see that many meteorites are composed of tiny glass “beads”. The origin of these “beads” is associated with the early period of the solar system, which preceded the formation of planets.
In a new study, scientists from the University of Chicago, USA, presented an analysis that explains the origin of these mysterious beads, called chondrules, and their relationship to the processes that took place in the early period of the solar system.
Chondrules are primordial material that has remained unchanged since the formation of the solar system, while on Earth, as a result of constant volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics, the primary material has undergone continuous evolutionary changes.
But what is the exact process that led to the formation of chondrules in the solar system?
By analyzing the isotopic composition of the two elements that make up the substance chondrules, potassium and rubidium, a group of astronomers led by Nicole Xike Nie from the Carnegie Institute of Science, USA, was able to impose restrictions on the condensation processes that led to the formation of chondrules in the early Solar system.
According to these results, the studied elements were part of the dust substance, the cloud of which was heated to temperatures sufficient for the dust to turn into vapor. Then, upon condensation of the vapor thus obtained, some of the material formed chondrules.
According to the restrictions imposed by the team, the average rate of decrease in the temperature of the material during the formation of chondrules could not be lower than about 500 degrees Celsius per hour.
Based on these limitations, scientists propose possible variants of events that could be high-energy enough for such intense heating and cooling events to occur. One possible option is the passage of powerful shock waves through the early solar nebula.
Over the past half century, scientists have proposed various scenarios to explain the formation of chondrules – lightning or collisions between cosmic rocks – but these new findings tilt the balance in favor of the shock wave hypothesis.
The research is published in the journal Science Advances.
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