Space scientists from Germany have discovered dust from an erupted star or supernova, in the middle of a region covered in snow in Antarctica, as per a research published this month. According to the study issued in the Physical Review Letters, the findings could help scientists understand more about the solar system’s development and place in its environmental setting.
A supernova happens when a star blows up and creates clouds of gas, and dust filled with radioisotopes. Some of that dust from stars that exploded in the last twenty million years fell to Earth in the past twenty years, as per a report, and it has now been discovered in the snow taken from Antarctica.
Dominik Koll, a nuclear astrophysicist who conducted the findings and co-authored the study said that the team of researchers made the discovery after transporting 500 kilograms (approximately 1,100 pounds) of snow from Antarctica to a research center located in Munich, Germany.
Antarctica snow present traces of supernova dust
The scientists selected that isolated region specifically because it is mainly untouched. They decided to test snow because it is the cleanest material there is. The snow was melted down and analyzed through and through. The fragments found in it were burnt and tested utilizing gear sufficiently precarious to identify anomalies. All over the samples, there was found iron-60.
The majority of iron in the universe is iron-56. Iron-60 has additional neutrons which make it volatile to radioactive decay, and it can be found on Earth only from cosmic explosions or in nuclear weapons. The team of scientists could then evaluate and decide that the most probable source of the unusual type of iron discovered in the Antarctic snow was stardust.
Even so, it is still unclear whether the Earth is at the moment covered in a dust cloud or if the finding is of the leftovers of a cloud that passed over the Earth a long time ago. Irrespective, the discovery could add to the understanding of Earth’s place in the cosmos and data on the type and origin of the cloud.
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