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A dying star 'may have given birth to solar system'

tech reviews Updated: Jul 21, 2009 12:51 IST
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Planetary scientists have discovered evidence that our solar system may have been given life by a dying star six times bigger than the sun.

An international team has found that radioactive nuclei found in the earliest meteorites, dating back billions of years, could have been delivered by a nearby dying giant star of six times the mass of the sun.

Lead scientist Dr Maria Lugaro from Monash University said the findings could change our current ideas on the origin of the solar system. "We have known about the early presence of these radioactive nuclei in meteorites since the 1960s, but we do not know where they originated from.

"The presence of the radioactive nuclei has been previously linked to a nearby supernova explosion, but we are showing now that these nuclei are more compatible with an origin from the winds coming from a large dying star."

The team reached the conclusion by combining stellar observations from telescopes with recently developed models reproduced on powerful computers of how stars evolve and which nuclear reaction occurs within their interiors.

The findings have been published in the Meteoritic and Planetary Science journal.