A long-standing puzzle on the origin of stardust recovered from meteorites has been solved by international research involving Monash University.
The solar system was born out of a nebula – a cloud of gas and dust in outer space.
“While most of the original dust was destroyed to make up new dust, rocks, and planets, including the Earth, a small fraction of stardust survived the destruction process,” said lead researcher, Dr Maria Lugaro, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Centre for Astrophysics, and the Momentum Project Leader at the Hungary-based Konkoly Observatory.
This dust can be used to trace the evolution of the nebula from which the planets – including earth – were born and to understand the physical processes inside the stars where the grains formed.
The new research identifies the make-up of some of this stardust and the effect of the nuclear reactions that occur in these particular stars.
“This is an outstanding discovery which will help us to accurately account for dust production in galaxies, which has wide consequences for other areas of astrophysics,” said Monash Senior Lecturer Dr Amanda Karakas.
Read more about this breakthrough study here. Story credit: Monash University newsroom.
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