Scientists discovered traces of Iron Isotopes of Supernova on Moon

Apr 18, 2016 13:13 IST

Scientists at Technical University of Munich (TUM) discovered the traces of isotopes of 60Fe (Iron) in samples from the moon which are similar to those were found on Earth’s ocean floor. This led them to believe that these isotopes are also from the same supernova explosion.

The study was published in Physics Review Letters journal on 13 April 2016.

Earlier, a unique iron isotope, 60Fe, was found in deep-sea crusts and ocean sediments from the Pacific Ocean. At present, the scientists detected the same kind of isotope 60Fe, with high concentrations on the moon as well.

The scientists of TUM also made use of the samples of lunar material that was brought to Earth for the further study during the Apollo lunar missions 12, 15 and 16 between 1969 and 1972.

These samples were studied using a high-sensitivity accelerator mass spectrometer in the Maier-Leibnitz Laboratory.

This study supports that the same supernova explosion sent the same stellar particles to Earth and our moon. 

What is Supernova?

As per NASA, Supernova is an explosion of the star at the end of its life cycle. Stars are made up of hydrogen and once it is all gone, they implode and create new elements. When it of massive size a supernova, a biggest explosion takes place that spews out different isotopes all over.

It is believed that a supernova explosion occurred somewhere near our solar system around two million years ago. It is believed that it occurred only around 300 light years away.

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