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Researchers examined Antarctic snow where they discovered interstellar dust recently fell to Earth for the first time.
Scientists claimed that these studies may shed light on the mysterious interstellar clouds. By contrast, this new study analyzes relatively fresh interstellar dust, and the findings may reveal insight into mysterious interstellar clouds and their relationship with our solar system.
“Scientists might be able to use our results to figure out how the solar neighborhood was shaped,” study lead author Dominik Knoll, an experimental nuclear physicist at the Australian National University in Canberra, told Space.com. “We know something about distant galaxies and stars and a lot about our solar system, but the nearby surroundings of our solar system need more investigation.”
The researchers seek samples of interstellar dust collecting about 1,100 lbs. (500 kilograms) of Antarctic snow that was less than 20 years old. It was collected several hundred miles from the coast of the frozen continent, near Germany’s Kohnen Station.
Space.com mentions “According to the researchers, the most likely source of the iron-60 was a supernova, a powerful explosion from a gigantic dying star that is bright enough to briefly outshine all of the other stars in its host galaxy. Other natural ways of creating iron-60 produce only up to one-tenth as much. However, iron-60 and manganese-53 also can be produced when atom fragments called cosmic rays strike interplanetary dust. Nonetheless, the researchers found a greater ratio of iron-60 to manganese-53 than they would have expected from this mechanism”.
Future examination of interstellar dust in older snow and ice may shed light on the origins and structure of nearby interstellar clouds and the history of their interactions with the solar system, the researchers indicated.
The study was published on August 12 in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Source: Text; Space.com
Image credit; Space.com
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