Our Solar System is extremely rich in unique events and features. It has gaseous giants, rings of space rocks surrounding planets like Saturn or Uranus, tremendous storms on Jupiter, asteroid belts, and most of all: intelligent life.
But how did this Solar System of ours formed itself? How did it transform from a gigantic amount of hazardous fire and molten lava to the wonderful system of planets we all know today? How did life emerge on Earth? We may never find irrefutable answers to these questions, but at least scientists are searching for ones.
A neutron star clash helped the Solar System to form
As weird as it sounds, this is the hypothesis claimed by a research team lead by Szabolcs Marka, a physicist from the Columbia University. But to make things even more peculiar, the clash occurred 100 million years before our Solar System’s birth and 1,000 light-years away from it. The researchers involved in the study used meteorites from the dawn of our Solar System to be able to track down the collision.
They calculated the number of radioactive isotopes from the early Solar System. Then, the measurements were compared with the isotopes created by neutron-star mergers.
Clash of neutron stars created the heaviest elements
The heaviest known elements from the Universe, like gold or uranium, could only be created in the most powerful explosions, where temperatures are reaching unprecedented heights. We can mention here both supernovas and neutron stars clash.
Therefore, it’s easy to realize how could a clash of neutron stars contribute to the creation of the Solar System. Neighboring planets to us and even our own have very heavy elements. In fact, Earth has all the 92 naturally-occurring known elements from the Universe.
Each isotope is a stopwatch starting at the explosion,
There is only one point in time when they all agree,
The point is 100 million years before the birth of our Solar System, which means practically nothing judging by an astronomical scale.
Szabolcs Marka presented the outcome of the research during the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.