Heck and his colleagues examined 22 interstellar grains from the Murchison meteorite for their analysis. Dying sun-like stars flung the Murchison grains into space more than 4.5 billion years ago, before the birth of the solar system. Scientists know the grains formed outside the solar system because of their exotic composition.
Citation: "Interstellar Residence Times of Presolar Dust Grains from the Murchison Carbonaceous Meteorite," Astrophysical Journal, June 20, 2009, Vol. 698, Issue 12, pages 1155-1164
Authors: Philipp R. Heck, University of Chicago Department of Geophysical Sciences and Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry
Frank Gyngard, Laboratory for Space Sciences and Physics Department, Washington University, St. Louis
Ulrich Ott, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
Matthias M.M. Meier, Institute of Isotope Geology and Mineral Resources, Zurich, Switzerland
Janaína N. Ávila, Research School of Earth Sciences and Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University, Canberra
Sachiko Amari, Laboratory for Space Sciences and Physics Department, Washington University, St. Louis
Ernest K. Zinner, Laboratory for Space Sciences and Physics Department, Washington University, St. Louis
Roy S. Lewis, Enrico Fermi Institute and the Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry, University of Chicago
Heinrich Baur, Institute of Isotope Geology and Mineral Resources, Zurich, Switzerland
Rainer Wieler, Institute of Isotope Geology and Mineral Resources, Zurich, Switzerland
Funding sources: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Swiss National Science Foundation, the Australian National University, and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development
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