Meteorites are fundamental to our understanding of the beginning of the Solar System. They are like the leftovers of a work that keeps part of the environment of this distant past of our planetary system. Some formed with the death of stars similar to the Sun and carry secrets even older than they. Now, a new approach led by scientists at Washington University offers a glimpse into the chemistry of these stars and a pre-solar period.
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One of the biggest challenges in the study of pre-solar grains is to determine their origin, that is, from which star they formed. Previous research has been able to determine, for example, the age of these elements. However, Nan Liu, a professor at Washington University and the main author of the new approach, believes that the methods used so far to determine the nature of these space fragments were not the best.
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These meteorites in question have grains even older than the Sun in its material. “These grains are made of silicon carbide, that is, silicon and carbon atoms,” explains Liu. However, silicon carbide does not form naturally in our planetary system. For researchers, the likely origin of these fragments are carbon stars (red giants) whose atmosphere contains more carbon than oxygen.