(ORDO NEWS) — Geologists have discovered particles of cosmic dust from a Type Ia supernova explosion in the Hypatia meteorite. The study is published in the journal Icarus. The press service of the South African University of Johannesburg announced the results on Monday.
According to geologists, the Hypatia meteorite fell to Earth about 25-30 million years ago. It was accidentally found in 1996 during excavations in the desert in southwestern Egypt.
Until 2013, it did not attract the attention of astronomers and geologists, until Jan Dirk Kramers and Georgy Belyanin from the University of Johannesburg realized that the stone was of cosmic origin.
Scientists began to study the meteorite and noticed nanodiamonds and extraterrestrial organic matter in it. A few years ago, when they saw micro-inclusions of matter of a different color and structure than its other regions in the photographs of a cut of a meteorite, they again took up Hypatia.
Using X-ray spectroscopes and other instruments, the researchers studied the chemical and mineral composition. Not only was it unlike the rest of the Hypatia’s structure, it was like the matter of all known asteroids, comets, and all types of cosmic dust particles.
The inclusions contained iron, but they did not contain atoms of silicon, aluminum, potassium, titanium, copper, and some other elements. Scientists analyzed their ratio and came to the conclusion that the proportions of the elements correspond to the composition of substances that occur during a type Ia supernova explosion.
The authors of the work suggest that once a red giant star threw off the shell, and what was left of it turned into an object the size of a planet like the Earth, but with a mass of a star – a white dwarf. They believe it happened inside a huge cloud of dust.
Presumably, the white dwarf had a neighbor – another star, and he, “eating” it, could not stand it – this is a type Ia supernova explosion. The remaining gas stuck to the dust, a body was formed from this mixture, a piece came off from it, which became “Hypatia”.
“If our theories are correct, then Hypatia represents the first tangible trace of a type 1 supernova explosion that has been detected on the surface of the Earth. This discovery indicates that clouds of dust ejected by supernovae can penetrate into forming star systems and remain intact, which was considered impossible in the past, ”said Jan Kramers.
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