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Scientists describe how solar system could have formed in bubble around giant star

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:46 pm

Scientists with the University of Chicago have laid out a comprehensive theory for how our solar system could have formed in the wind-blown bubbles around a giant, long-dead star. Published Dec. 22 in the Astrophysical Journal, the study addresses a nagging cosmic mystery about the abundance of two elements in our solar system compared to the rest of the galaxy.

The general prevailing theory is that our solar system formed billions of years ago near a supernova. But the new scenario instead begins with a giant type of star called a Wolf-Rayet star, which is more than 40 to 50 times the size of our own sun. They burn the hottest of all stars, producing tons of elements which are flung off the surface in an intense stellar wind. As the Wolf-Rayet star sheds its mass, the stellar wind plows through the material that was around it, forming a bubble structure with a dense shell.

"The shell of such a bubble is a good place to produce stars," because dust and gas become trapped inside where they can condense into stars, said coauthor Nicolas Dauphas, professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences. The authors estimate that 1 percent to 16 percent of all sun-like stars could be formed in such stellar nurseries.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:47 pm

Image
Credit: V. Dwarkadas/D. Rosenberg

This simulation shows how bubbles form over the course of 4.7 million years from the intense stellar winds off a massive star. UChicago scientists postulated how our own solar system could have formed in the dense shell of such a bubble.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:52 pm



Scientists have proposed a new method for the formation of our Solar System 4.6 billion years ago, suggesting it was born from a giant star shedding its layers rather than a supernova.

 

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