Extraordinary Meteorite Is First Earthly Remnant Of A Rare Type Ia Supernova
An extraordinary Egyptian meteorite apparently formed in the wake of a rare Type Ia supernova, the type of explosion that revealed the existence of dark energy. Like the Antarctic ice sheet, the Sahara desert is a good place to hunt for meteorites because there is no vegetation to hide them and dark rocks tend to stand out. The stone is extremely rich in microdiamonds, unlike anything we have seen in other meteorites. The stone's elemental make-up is so different from any other known meteorite Professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg and co-authors propose it must have formed from interstellar dust.
The authors set about a slow process of comparing the stone's elemental abundance with the conditions in which elements are formed. The authors propose the supernova occurred within a dust cloud left behind when the white dwarf formed from a collapsing red giant. “If this hypothesis is correct, the Hypatia stone would be the first tangible evidence on Earth of a supernova type Ia explosion,” Kramers said in a statement. Evidence of Type Ia supernovas have been reported on Earth before, but these were in the form of trace elements scattered across the ocean floor.
We know many of the elements found on Earth and other planets are only formed in supernova explosions, neutron star collisions, and possibly Wolf-Rayet stars. On the other hand, the Hypatia stone includes 10-100 times more of six elements measured so far than a Type Ia supernova would produce.
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