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Tech & Science A meteor that struck Australia brought indestructible stardust more ancient than the sun. It's the oldest solid material ever found on Earth.

13:35  14 january  2020
13:35  14 january  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

Oldest stuff on Earth found inside meteorite that hit Australia

  Oldest stuff on Earth found inside meteorite that hit Australia Oldest stuff on Earth found inside meteorite that hit AustraliaA meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth, stardust that predated the formation of our solar system by billions of years, scientists said on Monday.

A meteor that struck Australia brought indestructible stardust more ancient than the sun . It ' s the oldest solid material ever found on Earth . This stardust is between between 5 billion and 7 billion years old — older than the sun and our solar system. Most of the grains in the Murchison meteorite

“These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy.” The meteorite was known to contain so-called presolar grains – minerals cast off by The oldest grains were dated to more than 5.5bn years ago, long before the sun formed 4.6bn years ago.

a star in the middle of the night: Places in the universe like the Egg Nebula (pictured) could be sources of stardust particles like the ones found in the Murchison meteorite. Places in the universe like the Egg Nebula (pictured) could be sources of stardust particles like the ones found in the Murchison meteorite.
  • In 1969, a 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite struck Murchison, Australia.
  • The meteorite contained fragments of stardust called presolar grains.
  • This stardust is between between 5 billion and 7 billion years old - older than the sun and our solar system.
  • Most of the grains in the Murchison meteorite came from various stars that formed around the same time. This suggests stars are born in bursts, rather than at a constant rate.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Meteorite fragments found in Australia appear to have brought rare, interstellar passengers to Earth: pieces of stardust older than the sun.

Stardust found inside Murchison meteorite in Victoria is oldest-known solid material on Earth

  Stardust found inside Murchison meteorite in Victoria is oldest-known solid material on Earth The oldest solid material ever found on Earth has been discovered inside a meteorite that landed near Murchison 50 years ago.This makes it the oldest solid material found on Earth the researchers said. It's even older than our Earth and the Sun, which are 4.5 and 4.6 billion years old respectively.

THE oldest material ever found on Earth has been discovered lurking in a meteorite that fell to our planet. Ancient stardust dating back seven billion years was found by scientists, making the mysterious matter a good deal "These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us

"These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us about how stars formed in our The materials Heck and his colleagues examined are called presolar grains-minerals formed before " It ' s so exciting to look at the history of our galaxy. Stardust is the oldest material to reach Earth

The space rock broke up in the atmosphere above Australia on September 28, 1969, and scientists later collected pieces scattered across the town of Murchison in the state of Victoria.

These fragments, called presolar grains, are incredibly tiny - about 100 would fit on the period at the end of this sentence. But they offer astronomers insight into how stars formed in the early stages of our galaxy.

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is A Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

  Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is A Staggering 7 Billion Years Old A meteorite that crashed into Australia back in 1969 contains stardust dating back some 7 billion years, predating the formation of Earth by 2.5 billion years. The remarkable discovery offers a snapshot of the conditions that existed long before our solar system came into existence. Ancient grains found inside the Murchison meteorite have been dated to between 5 billion and 7 billion years old, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new paper was led by astronomer Philipp Heck from the University of Chicago.

"These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy," Heck said. The new dating by this team confirms an "We basically came to the conclusion that there must have been a time in our galaxy when more stars formed than normal, and at the end

Scientists have found the oldest solid material ever discovered – a piece of stardust that formed Researchers describe the find as " solid samples of stars, real stardust " that is older even than our Though it is older than any other solid material known to humanity, it only came to Earth 50 years

For a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists analysed presolar grains from one of these meteorite fragments.

They discovered that the grains are the oldest solid material ever found on Earth. They're between 5 billion and 7 billion years old.

"They're solid samples of stars - real stardust," Philipp Heck, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.

The grains were incorporated into the ancient meteorite (which was later named Murchison after the spot it touched down) 4.6 billion years ago, during the time when the solar system was forming, Heck told Business Insider.

Indestructible stardust

Stars form when clouds of dust collapse and heat up. They burn for billions of years then eventually collapse and cool, scattering some of their ingredients into space. Over time, the freed stardust particles condense to form new stars and planets, or - in the case of these particular grains - meteorites.

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That makes it the oldest solid material ever discovered on Earth . Fifty years ago, a meteorite fell to Earth and landed in Australia , carrying with it a rare sample from interstellar space. Our sun is around 4.6 billion years old , meaning this stardust existed long before our sun or solar system were

The oldest thing ever found on Earth has been discovered by scientists, and it is more than two billion years older than our planet. Tiny specks of stardust , dating back seven billion years, have been uncovered in a meteorite which landed in Victoria, Australia , in 1969.

Each individual grain of stardust has a chemical composition unique to the parent star it came from. So measuring the carbon and silicon isotopes each grain contains allowed Heck's team to determine what type of star it came from.

a close up of food: A microscopic photograph of a presolar grain. This grain is about 8 micrometres in size. A microscopic photograph of a presolar grain. This grain is about 8 micrometres in size.

The group looked at 40 grains made of a mineral called silicon carbide, which "is almost as hard as diamond and can survive for billions of years unchanged," Heck said.

The researchers were able to determine the grains' ages based on their chemical composition, since that reveals how long a grain was exposed to cosmic rays over the course of its lifetime. These rays are high-energy particles that zip through space at the speed of light and pierce solid matter.

"Some of these cosmic rays interact with the matter and form new elements. And the longer they get exposed, the more those elements form," Heck said in the press release.

His team discovered that about 60% of the grains are between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old, while some other grains are even older: 5.5 billion years or more. Our sun, by comparison, is 4.6 billion years old, and Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

One of the biggest meteorite crashes in Earth's history flung debris across 3 continents 800,000 years ago. Scientists finally found the crater.

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‘These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy.’ The materials examined in the study published But the Field Museum has the largest portion of the Murchison meteorite, a treasure trove of presolar grains that fell in Victoria, Australia , in 1969.

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth : stardust that' s 7 billion years old , tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite New analysis of dozens of presolar grains from the Murchison meteorite revealed a range of ages, from about 4 million years older than our sun — which formed

That makes this stardust is the oldest material from the solar system ever found on Earth. It beats the oldest rocks on Earth, which were previously considered the most ancient material: zircon crystals discovered in Australia in 2014. Those are only 4.4 billion years old.

Previous studies have noted that similar presolar grains have ages ranging from 5 billion to 4.6 billion years old, but the upper age limit of this Murchison stardust takes the the cake.

That makes these presolar grains useful pieces of evidence in the study of our galactic history.

Diamonds in the rough

Meteorites containing stardust are incredibly rare. Heck said about 70,000 meteorites are currently known to science, and of those, "at most 5% of these contain presolar grains."

"Only a few meteorites are as large as Murchison and as rich in grains as Murchison," he said.

a piece of cake covered in chocolate: A fragment of the Murchison meteorite that fell to Earth on September 28, 1969, in Victoria, Australia. A fragment of the Murchison meteorite that fell to Earth on September 28, 1969, in Victoria, Australia.

The microscopic size of these grains - the biggest is only 30 micrometres across - make them challenging to study, however.

"It starts with crushing fragments of the meteorite down into a powder," Jennika Greer, a co-author of the study, said in a press release. Then the crushed meteorite gets dissolved with acid until only the presolar grains remain.

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Stardust forms in the material ejected from stars and carried by stellar winds During the solar system’ s birth, this dust was incorporated into everything that formed including the planets and the sun but The oldest -known minerals that formed on Earth are found in rock from Australia ’ s Jack Hills

"These are the oldest solid materials ever found , and they tell us about how stars formed in our The materials Heck and his colleagues examined are called presolar grains-minerals formed before " It ' s so exciting to look at the history of our galaxy. Stardust is the oldest material to reach Earth

"It's like burning down the haystack to find the needle," Heck said in the release.

Tens of thousands of presolar grains were extracted from the Murchison meteorite, but only 40 were large enough to be dated, he added.

Presolar grains tell us how and when stars formed in the early universe

Since the majority of the 40 grains Heck's team studied were around the same age, his team hypothesised that most came from stars that formed in one big burst.

Astronomers have long debated whether new stars form at steady rate or in accelerated bursts. The new study is evidence of the latter.

a sky view looking up at night: A snapshot of the Perseid meteor shower. A snapshot of the Perseid meteor shower.

"Thanks to these grains, we now have direct evidence for a period of enhanced star formation in our galaxy 7 billion years ago," Heck said in the release.

In other words, he added, "there was a time before the start of the solar system when more stars formed than normal."

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