The theory of our solar system’s origin is well-known to everyone. It started when the sun started as a protostar in its “solar nebula” more than 4.5 billion years ago. Over several million years, the planets originated from this nebula, and it dispersed away. A lot of questions arise from these details. For instance, how long did the protoplanetary disk that produced these planets last? New research proposed by the Journal of Geophysical Research provides a closer look at the planetary birth crèche. Particularly, it shows the way in which the magnetism of meteorites helps tell the story.
In 2017, planetary scientist Huapei Wang and collaborators stated on their studies of meteorites dating back to that period. They discovered that the solar nebula had emptied approximately four million years after the solar system’s formation.
A team of scientists, overseen by Cauê S. Borlina of Johns Hopkins University and MIT, questioned if the system cleared out all at once. Or did it occur over two distinct timescales? To answer that, the team turned to a characteristic known as “solar nebula paleomagnetism.” That’s an elegant way of saying that a magnetic field existed in the nebula. Meteoroids were produced in the nebula at that time named carbonaceous chondrites and contained imprints of that field.
Borlina and the team believed that there was one timetable for the inner solar system and one for the external regions.