Meteorite dust sheds clues to solar system

July 19, 2005 at 4:40 PM
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ST. LOUIS, March 4 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said Thursday they have discovered specks of stardust from one of the most primitive meteorites known.

The specks are composed of silicate stardust that actually is older than the sun, said the researchers.

"Finding presolar silicates in a meteorite tells us that the solar system formed from gas and dust, some of which never got very hot, rather than from a hot solar nebula," said Ernst Zinner, professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis. "Analyzing such grains provides information about their stellar sources, nuclear processes in stars, and the physical and chemical compositions of stellar atmospheres."

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