Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Sun formed on a core of a supernova?

  1. Apr 2, 2008 #1
    I ran across some article that pointed to this research:

    The theory states that Sun formed from accretion of supernova remnants back into/onto its core.

    Now, my scientific background is quite limited but this theory seems to me more realistic than an idea that a near supernova contributed to such large amount of heavy elements in our solar system. The theory would then maybe make more sense into observations that gaseous planets are generally found much closer to their stars because I assume that most other stars do not form in such way.

    If this turned out to be an accepted theory it would limit the amount of possible candidates for intelligent civilizations because it may imply that only such events generate enough heavy element to sustain civilizations.

    Also, I would like to get some clarification to what happens to a SN core usually. Wikipedia states that under 20 solar masses on SN type II you get a neutron star, which contradicts with the theory.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2008 #2
    Preposterous twaddlecock, the most obvious problem is that yes, the mass of the remnant is greater than the mass of the sun, even before it would have accreted more gas onto its surface.
  4. Apr 2, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The sun is not the core of a SN.
    It is correct that most heavy elements (and everythign heavier than iron) comes form supernovae, however the early low metalicity stars that formed in the early days of the galaxy were high mass and short lived which contributed lots of metals to the solar neighbourhood.
  5. Apr 4, 2008 #4
    so where are the neutron stars or black holes that should have also formed in this process
    shouldn't they still be somewhere near our solar neighbourhood
  6. Apr 4, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The early stars (called population III, the current ones are population I - astronomers rarely get naming right first time) would have been large enough that their SN would create a black hole. One theory is that these black holes merged and formed the massive blackholes in the centre of galaxies - another is that they were thrown out of the forming galaxy and are sitting quitely in space. Without any material from a nearby star falling into it, black holes are pretty diificult to see - being black!
  7. Apr 4, 2008 #6
    Well, it's been about 4.5 billion years, the original neutron star or black hole, if there even was one would have probably drifted away by now. The stars in the Milky Way are always moving about, interactions with other stars affect their orbits. IT is possible that the supernova that gave us the material for this solar system was type 1a, which don't leave compact objects.
  8. Apr 5, 2008 #7
    does a type 1aSN create enuff heavy metal
    or do we need a full type 2 SN to make our current stuff

    while the OP question is not correct due to the small mass of our sun

    why should all the black holes go away into the center super massive BH
    or leave the galaxies as that is a big change in Delta V
    and if they just wander away others should wander in to our area

    and while Black holes are not out putting light
    they should bend light and have a large dust disk
    both along with X-ray output should be easy to detect
    esp if as close or as common as the high metal results seem to predict
    in short we seem to be missing BHs esp close us to ones
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  9. Apr 5, 2008 #8
    Thanks for the explanations all.

    In the case of Ia SN, I am still not sure if those heavy elements are produced in such quantities to make them as abundant in our solar system. Large amount of iron is produced in the explosion, but not heavier elements. It is interesting however that if the Sun was to be a companion star to a white dwarf going through a Ia SN, and if the white dwarf was do be ejected from orbi after it explodes (and it does happen), then it would leave the heavy elements behind.

    So now could the Sun have been a companion star in Ia case?
  10. Apr 6, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The remnant question is interesting. Where it might be now is very difficult to guess. If it recoiled [as is likely] it could be on the other side of the galaxy by now.
  11. Apr 7, 2008 #10
    Lets see a few known facts.

    Our sun is not massive enough to be a remnent.

    Our sun is roughly 4.5-5 billion years old.

    So, all the elements that compose our solar system that can only be made by the stellar furnace of a heavy star, probably come from a nova, or super nova, I'll assume a super nova since we have iron and plenty of heavy element usually mostly found in the bigger stars.

    Now, heres a scenario, a massive star part of a system with a companion star, that is equally massive.

    One goes super nova, ends up a black hole, the other goes super nova and ends up a neutron star.

    The second star's super nova further pushes away some of the matter that the first nova produced, and after a while both the black hole and the neutron star merge, futher pushing away a lot of this matter.

    Those heavy elements are pushed away and drift until they happen upon the formation of solar nebula seeding it with plenty of metalicity.

    Which is the more likely scenario? Mine or that our sun actually incorporate the nova remnent?
  12. Apr 7, 2008 #11
    A supernova would destroy the companion object for sure. The elemental abundances of the Sun seem to point to the Solar system being enriched by a couple of different types of SNe. Type II SNe, such as SN1987A tend to overproduce the "alpha elements" such as Si, Mg, O relative to Fe and other iron peak elements. On the other hand, Type1a SNe mildly overproduce Fe peak elements relative to the alpha elements. Our abundance pattern seems to be pretty well mixed up.
  13. Apr 7, 2008 #12
    From my research and studies so far it appears that our system could have formed in 2 stages, our sun formed from a collapsing cloud of gas, and our planets formed from a cloud of heavier elements and was then later captured by our sun. This theory is based on the idea that gravity pulls heavier objects to the bottom or center. if you take a container and fill it with several fluids of different masses the heavier liquids will settle to the bottom while the lighter ones will float to the top, this can be observed by putting into a container(clear so you can see into it) water, veggie oil and mercury. After the liquids have settled you will have 3 distinctive layers of mercury on the bottom then water in the middle and oil on the top. Based on this principle when a solar system is forming the heavier elements should settle to the center while the heavier elements should form further from the center. This could result in a system of say a iron based star in the center and planets comprised of gases such as helium and hydrogen. Now the planets in our system follow this quite nicely with the rocky planets close to the center, and the closer they are the more heavy elements they should have(So just thin Mercury and Venus should have allot more gold and platinum than earth. Maybe they even have cores that are mostly gold and platinum). and the outer planets are made up of lighter elements, Hydrogen and helium.

    Then again maybe the sun and all the planets formed separately and then later wandered into each others gravitational fields and over millennium formed into the system we see today.

    Any way I believe that current data indicates that the planets formed separately then later the 2 systems joined up.
  14. Apr 8, 2008 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I doubt we can track down the source of 'metals' our solar system accreted 4.5 billion years ago. They were most likely synthesized in a supernova event that preceded our solar system by millions of years.
  15. Jun 1, 2008 #14
    At least now I know it's not just me who thinks how our solar system was formed and from what types of stellar structures (such as SNe's) contributed to our current state of affairs
  16. Jun 1, 2008 #15
    I was taught the other way around. The first stars {generation 1} and then our current stars, generation 3. ..maybe my teacher was wrong.
  17. Jun 1, 2008 #16
    Yup, Pop 3 stars are older than Pop 1 stars.
  18. Jun 1, 2008 #17


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Nope, pop I are current high metalicity, pop II are earlier low metalicity, pop III are hypotheical very early zero metal stars. I don't know why this naming occured.
  19. Jun 2, 2008 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I sympathize with AstroRoyale. Pop III stars would be the oldest stars in the universe nowadays. It is not inconceivable that globular clusters are largely populated by the remnants of pop III stars
  20. Jun 3, 2008 #19
    Exactly, Pop I stars have near solar metallicity, indicating that they formed fairly recently, pop II stars have [Fe/H]~-2 to [Fe/H]~-3 or so, indicating earlier formation, and Pop III should have near [Fe/H] <<< -4 meaning they probably formed as soon as they could after decoupling.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook