Dust grains could be remnants of stellar explosions billions of years ago

March 8, 2016
Credit: Michigan State University

Microscopic dust particles have been found in meteoritic material on Earth, particles that were likely formed in stellar explosions that occurred long before the creation of our star, the sun.

Whether some of these particles of stardust, known as "pre-solar grains," came from classical nova explosions is the focus of ongoing experimental nuclear physics research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron laboratory at Michigan State University.

That research has led to tantalizing subatomic clues about the origins of these grains. Those findings are now published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters. The paper's lead author is Michael Bennett, an MSU doctoral student at the NSCL.

The researchers are investigating whether the particles may have formed in a classical nova, a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a small star which is part of a binary star system - two stars orbiting each other.

This explosion would have ejected stellar material in the form of gas and dust into the space between stars in the galaxy. Some of that material would have been used in the creation of our solar system.

"There is a recycling process going on here," said Christopher Wrede, assistant professor of physics at MSU and spokesperson for the experiment. "When stars die, they spew out material in the form of dust and gas, which then gets recycled into future generations of stars and planets."

To learn more about this 5-billion-year old question, Wrede and his team at the NSCL carried out an experiment in which they created and studied the exotic radioactive nuclei that have the greatest influence on the production of isotopes in novae.

It turns out that the grains of stardust contain unusually high amounts of the isotope silicon-30, which is made up of 14 protons and 16 neutrons. Silicon-30 is quite rare on Earth (the most common is silicon-28).

Researchers know that silicon-30 is produced in classical novae, but haven't known enough about the nuclear reaction rates in the explosion to be sure how much silicon-30 was created. This has made the origins of the grains uncertain. The new nuclear reaction path discovered, together with computer models of the explosion, will be used to identify the grains.

"These particular are potential messengers from classical novae that allow us to study these events in an unconventional way," Wrede said. "Normally what you would do is point your telescope at a nova and look at the light.

"But if you can actually hold a piece of the star in your hand and study it in detail, that opens a whole new window on these types of ."

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13 comments

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OdinsAcolyte
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2016
All elements are the result of stardust, yes?
So are we.
If that ain't cool then what is?
wduckss
1 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2016
Density Si is 2.330 g / cm ^ 3, Sun has a density of 1.408 g / cm ^ 3.
The article suggests that the explosion of the star creates a more complex elements, although evidence points to the contrary.
We constantly get evidence of the joining of the body (and particle) (Shoemaker-Levy, ISON, 140 tons of space material everyday by falling to Earth, etc.) but persistently pushing, Sisyphus' stone without evidence and common logic.
Crab Nebula was created in the explosion star 1,054 years has a diameter of 13 light years. Matter is for 1,000 years has traveled the road less than 7 light-years.
Leave the Super Nova on peace.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2016
"evidence points to the contrary".

Do you care about the facts? 10s of google:

"Supernova nucleosynthesis occurs in the energetic environment in supernovae ... the most important discovery in nucleosynthesis theory of the intermediate-mass elements since Hoyle's 1954 paper because it provided an overarching understanding of the abundant and chemically important elements between silicon (A=28) and nickel (A=60). It replaced the incorrect although much cited alpha process ...

The most convincing proof of explosive nucleosynthesis in supernovae occurred in 1987 when those gamma-ray lines were detected emerging from supernova 1987A. Gamma ray lines identifying 56Co and 57Co nuclei, whose radioactive half-lives limit their age to about a year, proved that they were created by their radioactive cobalt parents. This nuclear astronomy observation was predicted in 1969[19] as a way to confirm ..."

[ https://en.wikipe...ynthesis ]
Vietvet
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 09, 2016
So much for the EU nutters "Electric Sun".
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 09, 2016
So much for the EU nutters "Electric Sun".

Actually quite the contrary, plasma processes continuously create dust regardless of explosive events. The nutter is yourself and others who cling to the metaphysical pseudoscience of the standard "theory" with all it's fairy dust and mathematical conjectures.
wduckss
1 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2016
orbjorn_b_g_larsson
"The Sun is composed primarily of the chemical elements hydrogen and helium; they account for 74.9% and 23.8% of the mass of the Sun in the photosphere, respectively.All heavier elements, called metals in astronomy, account for less than 2% of the mass, with oxygen (roughly 1% of the Sun's mass), carbon (0.3%), neon (0.2%), and iron (0.2%) being the most abundant. " https://en.wikipe...position
I find evidence of google, you only hypotheses.
The question, how one star explosion created a non-existent elements, nebula, black hole or neutron star, created from the remains of a large number of new stars (and giant) and deliver complex elements 100 to 400 billion star systems of the galaxy (Milky Way)?
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2016
@wduckss: "hypotheses".

Do you care about reading before commenting?

I repeat: "The most convincing proof of explosive nucleosynthesis in supernovae occurred in 1987 when those gamma-ray lines were detected emerging from supernova 1987A. Gamma ray lines identifying 56Co and 57Co nuclei, whose radioactive half-lives limit their age to about a year, proved that they were created by their radioactive cobalt parents. This nuclear astronomy observation was predicted in 1969[19] as a way to confirm ...""

Or don't you know what testing is?
wduckss
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2016
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
Register traces of some elements of is normal, or from the mouse does not need to make a herd of elephants.
Route: Milky Way, 100 to 400 billion star systems / several tens residues of Super Nova is a fairy tale or just a bad dream. The composition of the nebula to prove it.
Remove already have one a hypnotic glasses.
wenkl2
1 / 5 (4) Mar 10, 2016
"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and the universe in a wildflower,"- William Blake

To see the world in a grain of sand , and the universe in a wild flower... To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour... W. Blake ...

We are only beginning to see the wonders of Creation through our feeble attempts at science.
Thirteenth Doctor
5 / 5 (5) Mar 10, 2016
We are only beginning to see the wonders of the universe despite preposterous claims of Creation.


Fixed that for you.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2016
@wduxkss: So you accept the hypothesis and the evidence of explosive nucleosynthesis, yet you somehow don't accept it?

Well then, you are not capable to understand and discuss science.
Old_C_Code
1 / 5 (2) Mar 13, 2016

So much for the EU nutters "Electric Sun".


Remember the main problem they cite with the fusion model: the 2 million K degree corona above the 5000K surface. The current mainstream answer to this paradox is not compelling in the least.
I agree the interstellar current powered EU model is hard to believe albeit fascinating.
Old_C_Code
3 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2016
We are only beginning to see the wonders of Creation through our feeble attempts at science.


Right, wasps laying eggs in live caterpillars who's larva feed and then bore out of the living victim . Or three lions taking a Wildebeest down. Hey, might as well mention children's cancer wards. Oh the wonders of design.

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