Many newborns and toddler stars do not differ so much from newborns and toddlers – prone to outbursts of anger, loud and violent minds, and indiscriminately wailing and heaping disgusting matter in all directions. It is natural to assume that even our 4.6 billion year old sun had a messy flowering in its youth, but without the evidence that this was the case, many scientists had only a strong suspicion. New data focused on a peculiar array of ancient blue crystals from outer space seems to suggest that the sun in its early history radiated a much higher flux of cosmic rays than we previously thought.
These blue crystals are called hibonite. We arrived here on earth through meteorite impacts. Hibonite is effectively some of the first minerals in the solar system that arise from the sun's cooling gas. The new study, published in Nature Astronomy focuses on the Murchison meteorite, which originated in Australia in 1
"We believe that Hibonite, like the one in Murchison, formed near the Young Sun, where temperatures were high enough to produce such minerals, "says Levke Kööp, a cosmochemistry researcher at the University of Chicago author of the new study. "Huronites from Murchison are famous for showing large isotope anomalies that tell us about the types of stars that contributed material to the molecular cloud that formed the Sun." The team has no exact date on the hibonite grains, but is based on The age of the heat-resistant elements in the meteorite makes the crystals a little over 4.5 billion years old.
If hibonite were indeed produced by an early active sun, the answer would be to analyze the helium and neon of the crystals isotopes. High-energy particles ejected from a fugitive young sun would strike calcium and aluminum deposits in the crystals, splitting those atoms into neon and helium and irrevocably trapped for billions of years.
The research team investigated the hibonite crystals with the aid of a highly sensitive mass spectrometer at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, which uses a laser to melt off the hibonite grains, while the spectrometer measures and confirms the presence of helium and neon concentrations.
Apart from the fact that the young sun has just gone through a phase of high activity. The new results also show that some meteorite materials from the solar fog are directly affected by the young sunshine. The team also noted that helium and neon were missing in the younger crystals, suggesting that later on the sun-generated irradiation conditions changed slightly and the question of what happened. This insight could later lead to a better understanding of how the role of star evolution plays in the creation of elements and materials that later assemble into planets and other heavenly bodies.
"In recent decades there has been a controversy as to whether meteorites contain evidence of an early active sun," says Kööp. "In general, it was difficult even for us to know what to expect from this study, and in the end, we were very pleased to see such a clear radiation signature in the Hibonites."
Andrew Davis, one with the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History associated study author, points to the tiny size of The hibonite grains limit how strong the team can measure helium and neon traces, as well as an analysis of the absolute age of hibonite. In addition, the analyzes also include a destruction of the grains. "We are working on a new instrument in my lab to study the isotopic composition of more elements in the hibonite grains in order to better understand how different dust sources were mixed in the early sun-mist," he says.
Effects of these results alone should not be underestimated. "I've been studying this type of research for a long time, and I'm always skeptical of claims by scientists that traces of the early sun were found."
"With this new study," he says, "I'm glad to have my say change. "