Solar System older than thought

Aug 22, 2010
A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on March 30, 2010 and released by NASA on April 21, 2010. The Solar System could be nearly two million years older than thought, according to a study published on Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience.

The Solar System could be nearly two million years older than thought, according to a study published on Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience.

The evidence comes from a 1.49-kilo (3.2-pound) , found in the Moroccan desert in 2004, that contains a "relict" mineral, which is one of the oldest formed after the birth of the Sun.

Analysis of lead isotopes suggest the mineral was formed 4.45682 billion years ago, making the meteorite the oldest object ever found.

As a result, the is likely to be between 300,000 and 1.9 million years older than previous estimates, says the paper, authored by Audrey Bouvier and Meenakshi Wadhwa of Arizona State University's the Center for Meteorite Studies.

Explore further: Why is Venus so horrible?

More information: Bouvier, A. & Wadhwa, M. Nature Geosci. advance online publication doi:10.1038/NGEO941 (2010).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One-of-a-kind meteorite unveiled

Apr 22, 2006

The depths of space are much closer to home following the University of Alberta's acquisition of a meteorite that is the only one of its kind known to exist on Earth! What makes it so rare? The meteorite is 'pristine' – ...

Meteorite grains divulge Earth's cosmic roots

Jun 15, 2009

The interstellar stuff that became incorporated into the planets and life on Earth has younger cosmic roots than theories predict, according to the University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar Philipp Heck and ...

Recommended for you

Why is Venus so horrible?

39 minutes ago

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

3 hours ago

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

3 hours ago

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

4 hours ago

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 25

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

DGBEACH
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2010
How can they be so certain that this meteorite comes from our solar system?
jkbgbr
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 22, 2010
It is 0.04% to 0.007% change in the age of the solar system. somebody please explain me how it is important.
christian_physicist
1 / 5 (6) Aug 22, 2010
I suppose, jkbgbr, that the other perspective is that it is a 2 million year change, and from a single find. And that's quite amazing. I wonder if we really *know* just how great a length of time is 2 million years.
GuruShabu
3 / 5 (8) Aug 22, 2010
I wonder how one can say:"NOW, this is the very moment a (any) solar system begun."
...from a dim fuzzy shapeless mass a gas...how one can say that mass has separated from the original (the Sun is a second generation star-it has "metals"-, or third, of fourth?) mother cloud and then start the clock!
210
1.8 / 5 (12) Aug 22, 2010
How can they be so certain that this meteorite comes from our solar system?

In truth, one can never be sure of anything where eye witness account is not part of the data proof. Nevertheless, consider this, ANYTHING within our solar system from another solar system BEFORE the sun exploded, would have had to have travelled truly astronomical distances to arrive here. Without FTL-Speeds, 300,000 to 1.9 Million years is not enough time to get here-back then...it would be getting here in our future..dig?
First the birth of the Sun and all our planets witnesses extraordinary energy release that hurled more stuff 'out' than it could ever possibly have 'taken in.'
Radiation: subatomic energetics would have WHITEWASHED so-to-speak many small macrobodies essentially 'resetting' their birthdates -follow me here?
nuff' said.
210
2 / 5 (8) Aug 22, 2010
I wonder how one can say:"NOW, this is the very moment a (any) solar system begun."
...from a dim fuzzy shapeless mass a gas...how one can say that mass has separated from the original (the Sun is a second generation star-it has "metals"-, or third, of fourth?) mother cloud and then start the clock!

EXCELLENT question, and the answer is IN the question :-)
The dust that made our sun and the planets was the material hurled from the star(s) that died before it and the ejecta from Black Holes- metals are produced as a star ages. Our earth has metals, some of the other planets in our system do NOT, ergo Jupiter for example is an unburnt star, waiting to show humanity just what kind of gases were present when it/we were made! As the fusion engine of our sun burns , we can calculate the RATE at which Hydrogen is being consumed,and due to the laws of physics and chemistry, we can deduce very accurate rates and changes in fusion levels and 'poison' by products.



Brad_Hobbs
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2010
Just the other day I overheard Jupiter mention to Saturn that losing that old family Bible with the birthdates in it was gonna cause problems. . .
Vasya
1.5 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2010
How can they be so certain that this meteorite comes from our solar system?


That is because star systems are very isolated from each other in terms of distance. Also big amounts of dense matter(such as meteorites) are formed in stars only. So there is an astonishingly low chance for alien meteorites to come to Earth.
Vasya
2.2 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2010
It is 0.04% to 0.007% change in the age of the solar system. somebody please explain me how it is important.

It may be not THAT important, but the whole science is a sum of such discoveries. What is really important is the trend, there may be larger corrections in the future.
convolutedmind
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2010
I'm with DGBEACH on this one. What's the evidence to suggest this fragment originated from our system?
Vasya
1 / 5 (6) Aug 22, 2010
I'm with DGBEACH on this one. What's the evidence to suggest this fragment originated from our system?

There is no doubt that the question is important. The composition of the sample may suggest its origin.
markkens
5 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2010
Isotopic ratios would indicate a solar or extrasolar origin.
jsa09
5 / 5 (3) Aug 23, 2010
For a start - How old is the Solar System?

I for one was pretty sure the margin of error in any estimates was a lot greater than 2 million years.

And since all the material in the solar system had to come from some other star or stars the consensus is that all this material arrived here as individual molecules.

This may not be the case for every single molecule though. Surely some parts of the solar system would have coalesced before the rest. Surely there would have been some planetoids or comet sized bits before the formation of the sun. Estimating the age of solar system then has to take into account some arbitrary agreed start time.
jkbgbr
not rated yet Aug 23, 2010
It may be not THAT important, but the whole science is a sum of such discoveries. What is really important is the trend, there may be larger corrections in the future.


I for one was pretty sure the margin of error in any estimates was a lot greater than 2 million years.


Well, I don't see any trend here but another measurement confirming the previously published data.
Vasya
not rated yet Aug 23, 2010
Well, I don't see any trend here but another measurement confirming the previously published data.

I suspect the solar system will be older and older in scientists' view. That's what i kept in mind.
FredJose
1 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2010
And since all the material in the solar system had to come from some other star or stars the consensus is that all this material arrived here as individual molecules

Things really get very strange indeed once you start asking questions about this.
Where did that star/stars come from? How did they first appear on the scene? Remember that the big bang dictates an inflationary period in which all matter was smoothed out so how did the first clumps form from a extremely high velocity [greater than the speed of light?] outward radial movement?
Since stars only produce Iron before going into decline, where did the lead come from? So if that meteorite is as old as the solar system itself, it wouldn't have been able to have formed inside the solar system itself.
Correct me if I'm wrong, here.

gwrede
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 23, 2010
When I went to school, it was KNOWN that Jupiter had 12 moons. Today, we KNOW that Jupiter has 63 moons.

And we KNOW that the solar system is 4,456,820,000 years old.
Ravenrant
not rated yet Aug 29, 2010
When you take into account another article elsewhere here about the sun affecting the rate of decay of radioactive elements, you have an unmeasurable difference added to a number that is wrong anyway for a net change of .......
Husky
1 / 5 (1) Aug 29, 2010
yes i was to put in reference to the article on neutrino flux possibly altering rate of radioactive decay also, maybe it should be taken into account while dating
Baseline
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 29, 2010
Still clinging to the whole "Giant ball of gas" theory eh?

Once we thought the earth was flat and that we were at the center of it it all as it revolved around us.

Seems rather strange we are still clinging to the notion that the Sun is just a ball of Hydrogen considering it is because of observations made in the time of Galileo.

Our tools have gotten a bit better since then but it takes a great deal of evidence to overturn dogma it seems.
frajo
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2010
Still clinging to the whole "Giant ball of gas" theory eh?
Something better to offer?
Au-Pu
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 30, 2010
How insignificant.
It alters nothing of consequence.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Aug 30, 2010
frajo, you will find something better here ...

http://www.thesur...sun.com/
frajo
4 / 5 (4) Aug 30, 2010
frajo, you will find something better here ...
http://www.thesur...sun.com/
Thanks, but no, it's not better. A lack of due diligence is apparent by the persistent mistake of writing "heliosiesmology". Additionally, there's no convincing clue why I should believe that the sun has an "actual rocky, calcium ferrite surface layer".
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Aug 30, 2010
In truth, one can never be sure of anything where eye witness account is not part of the data proof.
Eye witness account is the lowest form of evidence. Easily corruptable due to the subjective nature of the data and homosapiens' propensity to deluded recall.
Still clinging to the whole "Giant ball of gas" theory eh?
I wouldn't really call it a gas, probably more akin to liquid due to gas at great pressure.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.