There are several hypotheses about how the solar system developed, but investigators haven’t been able to agree on a single model that describes all the twists of our corner of space as it exists today. Now, experts at the University of Chicago have come up with a new model that explains an enduring puzzle about the early solar system. Our Solar System may have been born from bubbles of material hurled from a huge Wolf-Rayet-type star, according to a theory published Friday.
Scientists studying the origin of our system believe – no, wait, sorry. Stop. You know 2017 has been a bonkers year when the New York Times reveals a classified $22m US military program to investigate UFOs – complete with grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft and claims of finding out-of-this-world alloys – and no one blinks an eye.
The prevailing hypothesis of the creation of the solar system is that a large, nearby supernova emitted substance into the dense cloud of interstellar dust which failed to form our sun and the leftover material that orbits as planets, moons, asteroids and the rest. Astronomers developed this theory because of the high abundance the isotope aluminium-26, which is liberally ejected in a supernova explosion.
However, more recent measurements of meteorites from the early solar system suggest there is not as much iron-60 as in the rest of the galaxy, which is also created in high abundances in supernovae. “It begs the question of why one was injected into the solar system, and the other was not,” said co-author Vikram Dwarkadas, a research associate professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, in a press release.
These huge stars are called Wolf-Rayet stars and burn the warmest of any stars in our cosmos. This results in a stellar wind that covers the star in the elements it’s producing, which ultimately forms a bubble around the star. Dust and gas become trapped inside the shell of this bubble, which is an excellent place for new stars to build.