The nearby star forming region can provide information about how the solar system formed.
Astronomers have found an area of active star formation in the constellation Ophiuchus, which is similar to the conditions for the origin of the solar system. The authors of the new work used multi-wavelength observations of the star-forming region of Ophiuchus in order to reveal the interactions between clouds of star-forming gas and radionuclides.
Their results indicate that supernovae in a star cluster are the most likely source of short-lived radionuclides in star-forming clouds.
Astronomers, using the example of a complex of star-forming regions in the constellation Ophiuchus, have traced the paths of transport of the aluminum-26 isotope from the interstellar medium to protoplanetary disks. It turned out that most often it is born during supernova explosions and is able to spread widely across the protoplanetary disk, leading to its global heating.
Our solar system most likely formed in a giant molecular cloud along with a young star cluster, and one or more supernovae contaminated gas that would eventually become the sun and its planetary system.
Douglas N.K. Lin, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz
The clouds of Ophiuchus contain many dense protostellar cores at various stages of star formation and development of the protoplanetary disk. The authors combined images in the wavelength range from millimeters to gamma rays and showed what a stream of aluminum-26 looks like from a nearby star cluster towards the star-forming region of Ophiuchus.
This enrichment process is similar to the one that took place during the formation of the solar system 5 billion years ago.
The authors developed a model that takes into account every massive star likely to have existed in the region, including its mass, age, and the likelihood of explosion. It also takes into account the potential pathways for aluminum-26 from stellar winds and supernovae. The model made it possible to determine the probabilities of various scenarios for the production of aluminum-26 that we see today.