Technology Innovation Website Editor – 05/18/2022
The original sample was found by geologist Ali Barakat during an expedition by researchers from Egypt and Italy.
[Imagem: Aly A. Barakat]
A famous and controversial potentially extraterrestrial rock made headlines.
Now, the claim is that the Hypcia rock, which was found in Egypt in 1996, would be the result of a Type Ia supernova explosion.
Since it was found, many teams have analyzed the strange rock, but conclusions have varied widely, from claims it could have originated here on Earth, to suggestions that it was either some kind of meteorite or even a rock behind it. Solar System.
Jan Kramers and colleagues at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa have now conducted a new analysis and come to what may be the most “radical” conclusions reached to date.
“In a sense, we can say we ‘fallen’ a supernova explosion Ia into the verb, because the gas atoms from the explosion were trapped in the surrounding dust cloud, which ended up forming the original body of Hippocia,” she said.
The team claims to have performed “forensic chemistry” on several samples, eliminating all “cosmological suspects” of the rock’s origin, which have a strange composition, filled with partial diamonds with an almost complete absence of silicates.
“Instead of exploring all the amazing aberrations that Hippocia presents, we wanted to explore whether there was a basic unit. We wanted to find out if there was some kind of consistent chemical pattern in the stone,” the researcher said.
For this purpose, 17 targets were selected in the sample apart from the terrestrial minerals that formed in the cracks of the original rocks that fell to the ground, probably millions of years ago.
“We’ve found a consistent pattern of trace element abundance that is very different from anything in the Solar System, primitive or evolved. Objects in the asteroid belt and meteorites don’t match either. So next we look outside the Solar System,” Kramers said.
The large amount of iron and the small amount of silicon and other elements heavier than iron ruled out the ultimate origin of the rock in a red giant star, which is very common in the universe.
Also, a Type II supernova does not fit the explanation due to the large amount of iron and the presence of minerals such as nickel phosphide.
A much rarer Type Ia supernova is one of the great sources of iron in the universe. This is how the team did it.
The rock samples the team studied, next to a coin for size comparison.
[Imagem: Jan D. Kramers et al./University of Johannesburg]
Type Ia supernova
Given what you’d expect to find in a supernova, eight of the 15 elements analyzed fall within the expected ranges for iron’s relative proportions: silicon, sulfur, calcium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, and nickel.
However, not all of the 15 items analyzed in Hippia match expectations. In six of them, the ratios were between 10 and 100 times greater than the ranges predicted by theoretical models for Type 1a supernovae: aluminium, phosphorous, chlorine, potassium, copper and zinc. But this was not enough for the team to abandon their hypotheses.
“Since a white dwarf star formed from a dying red giant, Hippocia could have inherited these elemental to six element ratios to a red giant star. This phenomenon has been observed in white dwarf stars in other research,” Kramers says.
If this hypothesis is correct, then the Hibokia rock would be the first concrete evidence on Earth of a supernova explosion, one of the most energetic events in the universe.
But, given the history of research related to the mysterious rock, somewhat explosive new opinions are expected with the publication of this new work, and it is wise to wait for new analyzes and hypotheses.
Article: Chemistry of extraterrestrial carbonaceous stone Hypatia: a perspective on dust heterogeneity in interstellar space
Authors: Jan D. Kramers, Georgie A.;
DOI: 10.1016 / j.icarus.2022.115043
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