Was the solar system formed inside a giant bubble?

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Don’t bet the house on this! Astronomers have come up with a new theory for the formation of the solar system, that it was formed inside a giant bubble inside a Wolf-Rayet star, in order to explain the known ratios of certain isotopes here.

The new theory for how the solar system formed starts with an extremely massive star known as a Wolf-Rayet star. Of all the stars in the universe, these stars burn the hottest. Because they are so hot, they also have exceptionally strong stellar winds.

As a Wolf-Rayet star sheds its outer layers – a normal end-of-life process for a giant star – its strong stellar winds plow through its loosely held cloak of material, forming densely shelled bubbles. According to the study, the solar system could have formed inside of one of these bubbles.

While this theory would explain a number of mysteries about the ratios of aluminum-26 and iron-60 in our solar system, which correspond closer to those in a Wolf-Rayet star than the galaxy itself, it is quite far-fetched. More hard data is necessary, including real evidence of such things actually happening in such stars, before it can be taken very seriously.



  • wayne

    The preprint of this Paper is at:
    (Hat Tip; Mr. Z!)

    This is infinitely more plausible than the “alien superstructures in Space,” stuff!

  • Calvin G Dodge

    It sounds about as likely as the “Space Show” guest who says the ratio of xenon isotopes on Mars is evidence of a nuclear war there.

  • Localfluff

    There’s a fair amount of chain assumptions in the executive summary:

    – Aluminium-26 is produced during the evolution of the massive star,
    – released in the wind during the W-R phase, and
    – condenses into dust grains that are seen around W-R stars [this rare kind of star].
    – The dust grains survive passage through the reverse shock and the low density shocked wind, reach the dense shell swept-up by the bubble,
    – detach from the decelerated wind and
    – are injected into the shell.
    – Some portions of this shell subsequently collapses
    – to form the dense cores
    – that give rise to solar-type systems.
    – The subsequent aspherical supernova does not inject appreciable amounts of 60Fe into the proto-solar-system

    Baffingly to the mind, if it tries to think about it, such lines of reasoning have been *exorbitantly* effective in physics, including even astrophysics about exotic stars which have never been viewed as more than a point source, one single stream of photons.

  • wayne

    yeah…what Is up, with the nuclear-explosions-on-Mars-guy?

    I want to thank you, for summarizing that Paper! (I didn’t want to think that hard today, it’s too cold where I am!)
    On the total upside; it doesn’t involve 11 Dimensions, or mysterious non-white matter.

    Tangentially, the Rube Goldberg website is back up & running.

  • BSJ

    Nah, They got it backwards. It was Wolf 359.


  • wayne

    Most excellent cultural reference.

  • Localfluff

    That Rube Goldberg’s web site is way too practical. Clicking on an icon illustrating what to expect, is as non-Rube Goldberg as it gets. Having the user to write the code to make it happen, i.e. creating one’s own Rube Goldberg machine (which is inevitable for every software developer, that’s what software is) would be more true to his idea.

    Rube Goldberg should be the one honored to name that space station gateway in and to nowhere. I will call it the Rube Goldberg Space Station from here on (until I observe some other unnecessary failure in my everyday life and find another taunt, it isn’t very hard to do!)

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