Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Solar System Dating

Astronomy with Radioactivities: (An Introduction to Astrophysics with
Decaying Isotopes)

This chapter presents a (partial) review of the information we can derive on the early history of the Solar System from radioactive nuclei of very different half-life, which were recognized to have been present alive in pristine solids. In fact, radioactivities open for us a unique window on the evolution of the solar nebula and provide tools for understanding the crucial events that determined and accompanied the formation of the Sun. Discussing these topics will require consideration of (at least) the following issues. i) The determination of an age for solar system bodies, as it emerged especially from the application of radioactive dating. ii) A synthetic account of the measurements that proved the presence of radioactive nuclei (especially those of half-life lower than about 100 Myr) in the Early Solar System (hereafter ESS). iii) An explanation of their existence in terms of galactic nucleosynthesis, and/or of local processes (either exotic or in-situ) preceding and accompanying the formation of the Sun. This will also need some reference to the present scenarios for star formation, as applied to the ESS

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