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New clues regarding the formation of the solar system discovered – Naveen Bharat

Washington: an area of ​​active star formation in the constellation Ophiuchus Giving astronomers new insight into the circumstances in which our own solar system was born.
The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal’.nature astronomy‘.
In particular, the study showed how our solar system can be rich in short-lived radioactive elements.
Evidence of this enrichment process dates from the 1970s when scientists studying some mineral inclusions in meteorites concluded that they were ancient remains of the infant Solar System and contained decay products of short-lived radionuclides.
These radioactive elements could have been blown over the nascent solar system by a nearby exploding star (a supernova) or by strong stellar winds from a type of giant star known as a wolf-rayet star.
The authors of the new study used multi-wavelength observations of the Ophiuchus star-formation region, including spectacular new infrared data, to reveal interactions between clouds of star-forming gas and radionuclides produced in a nearby cluster of young stars.
Their findings indicated that supernovae in star clusters are the most likely source of short-lived radionuclides in star-forming clouds.
“Our solar system most likely formed in a giant molecular cloud with a young stellar cluster, and one or more supernova events from some of the massive stars in this cluster contaminated the gas that transformed the Sun and its planetary system. gone,” said co-author Douglas NC Lin, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.
“Although this scenario has been suggested in the past, the strength of this paper is the use of multi-wavelength observation and a sophisticated statistical analysis to deduce quantitative measurements of model probability.”
Data from the space-based gamma-ray telescope enables the detection of gamma rays emitted by the short-lived radionuclide aluminum-26, said first author John Forbes from the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics.
“These are challenging observations. We can only detect this in two star-forming regions, and the best data is from the Ophiuchus complex,” he said.
The Ophiuchus cloud complex consists of several dense protostellar cores at various stages of star formation and protoplanetary disc evolution, representing early stages in the formation of a planetary system.
By combining imaging data at wavelengths ranging from millimeters to gamma rays, the researchers were able to visualize the flow of aluminum-26 from a nearby star cluster toward the Ophiuchus star-forming region.
“The enrichment process we are seeing in Ophiuchus is consistent with events that occurred during the formation of the Solar System 5 billion years ago,” Forbes said.
He said, “Once we saw this good example of how the process could happen, we set about trying to model the nearby star clusters that produce radionuclides in the gamma rays we see today. ”
Forbes has developed a model that accounts for every giant star in the region, including its mass, age and potential for exploding as a supernova, and the potential yield of aluminum-26 from stellar winds and supernovae. does. The model enabled them to determine the possibilities of different scenarios for the production of aluminum-26 seen today.
“We now have enough information to say that there is a 59 percent chance that a supernova is caused and a 68 percent chance that it is from multiple sources, not just one supernova,” Forbes said.
This type of statistical analysis specifies the possibilities of scenarios that astronomers have been debating for the past 50 years, Lin said. “This is a new direction for measuring the potential of astronomy,” he said.
The new findings also showed that the amount of short-lived radionuclides involved in newly forming star systems can vary widely.
“Many new star systems will be born with aluminium-26 abundances consistent with our solar system, but the variation is huge – several orders of magnitude,” Forbes said.
“This matters for the early evolution of planetary systems because aluminum-26 is the main early heat source. More aluminum-26 probably means drier planets,” he said.
The infrared data, which enabled the team to see through dusty clouds into the heart of the star-forming complex, was obtained by co-author Joo Alves at the University of Vienna as part of the European Southern Observatory. vision Survey of a nearby stellar nursery using the VISTA telescope in Chile.
“There’s nothing special about Ophiuchus as a star formation region,” Alves said.
“This is a typical configuration of gas and young massive stars, so our results should be representative of the enrichment of short-lived radioactive elements in star and planet formation in the Milky Way,” he concluded.
The team used the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory, ESA’s Planck satellite, and NASACompton Gamma Ray Observatory.

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