A group of German and Austrian researchers found dust in Antarctic ice that they said came from a star burst. This type of explosion, called a “supernova”, occurs at the time of a star’s death.
Nuclear astrophysicist Dominik Koll told CNN on Tuesday that the debris traveled “billions of kilometers across space and is millions of years old.” The discovery was published in an article in the journal Physical Review Letters on August 12.
According to the definition of the United States Space Agency (NASA), a supernova occurs when a massive star loses fuel to continue burning. It cools, and this causes your internal pressure to fall. It also decreases gravity and the star collapses.
“Imagine something that has a million times the Earth’s mass collapse in 15 seconds,” explains NASA. This explosion emits a huge amount of dust and gas.
So what this group of European scientists found was the residue of such an explosion. These materials travel through space until they find another body to collide with – in this case, Earth.
“The earth is constantly bombarded with extraterrestrial dust, containing information of immense value about extraterrestrial processes,” says the study.
Astronomers analyzed 500 kg of Antarctic snow and found types of debris that are not typical of Earth’s surface. They realized this through analysis of iron content.
They believe this dust has fallen on Earth sometime in the last 20 million years.
As Koll explained to CNN, Antarctica was chosen for research precisely because it is a virtually untouched region of the planet, where it would be possible to find elements not yet studied by science.