Researchers from ETH Zürich announced that they were able to date events in the early Solar System with more accuracy than ever before using an extinct atom called niobium-92. The half-life of the atom is 37 million years, which is considered relatively short which leads to its extinction shortly after the formation of the solar system.
Researchers are on studying Suppose if an atom of a chemical element has an excess of protons and neutrons, then it becomes unstable. The extra particles are thrown out as gamma radiation until the element is stable again. One such unstable isotope was Niobium-92, also known as a radionuclide.
Today, the only way scientists know the existence of niobium-92 is because of its stable daughter isotope zirconium-92. While niobium-92 has become extinct, scientists used radionuclides in the form of niobium-92-zirconium 92 chronometers used to date events in the early solar system 4.57 billion years in the past. . The use of the chronometer was limited in the past due to the lack of accurate information regarding the amount of niobium-92 present at the birth of the solar system.
The lack of this information compromised the scientists’ ability to use chronometers to date and determine the production of radionuclides in the solar system. Researchers from ETH Zürich, who work with scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, have greatly improved the chronometer by recovering the rare minerals zircon and rutile from the remnants of a meteorite of a protoplanet called Vesta.
The team used uranium and lead dating technology to calculate how abundant niobium-92 was in the formation of the solar system. Armed with more accurate knowledge of how the abundance of niobium-92 in the early solar system allowed scientists to determine with more precision where the atoms are and where the material that makes up the sun and the planets in our solar system originated.
The new model indicates that the inner solar system with the terrestrial planets Earth and Mars consists mainly of ejected material from a type Ia supernova that occurred in the Milky Way. It is possible that the outer solar system was formed mainly by a supernova that collapsed into its core, most likely in the same stellar nursery where the sun was born.