January 30, 2005

Theory: Supernovas give birth to solar systems

A new theory proposes that our star and its planetary system were born in a nebula, filled with short-lived, massive stars that exploded with immense energy and an intense release of radiation.

The evidence? A primitive space rock which contains signs that a short-lived, radioactive form of the element chlorine may have been present in the early Solar System. A US-Chinese team, whose findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, claims the most likely source of this isotope was a supernova.

To this point in time, astronomers have believed that the Solar System formed inconspicuously, from a slowly condensing cloud of dust and gas--a view that is now being challenged.

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