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I Where is the dead star that created us?

  1. Aug 4, 2016 #1
    Alright, from my understanding we are created from star stuff, some of the atoms in our body were created during a Supernova. After a supernova, a neutron star should remain. So where is the remnant of Big Daddy, the star that seeded our solar system and therefore created us?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  3. Aug 4, 2016 #2

    phinds

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    I believe the consensus is that the star stuff of the Milky Way came from numerous sources, so there is no one star and I seriously doubt that there is any information on where any of our progenitors are.
     
  4. Aug 4, 2016 #3
    Well the Milky Way is big, I'm just referring to our galactic neighborhood. It shouldn't wondered too far away from us, and there aren't that many Neutron stars in the galactic neighborhood. what about the closest neutron star, Calvera? He is only 250 light years from us, quietly sneaking away ... I say that makes this bad boy a prime suspect. Is there any way to determine is date of death?
     
  5. Aug 4, 2016 #4

    phinds

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    Don't know.
     
  6. Aug 4, 2016 #5
    Supernovae can leave behind not only a neutron star, but also a black hole, or even nothing (i.e. no compact object). If "our" supernova(e?) left behind a neutron star, it happened more than 4.6 billion years ago so the core had a long time to cool and spin down, and it is now radio quiet (=>even harder to find). Moreover, due to asymmetry of some supernova explosions, the collapsed core may have achieved large kinetic energy and vanished from our neighborhood. Even if it didn't, it had a huge amount of time to drift away or get scattered by a gravity of a passing stellar system.
     
  7. Aug 4, 2016 #6

    Chronos

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    The most likely source of the atoms forming the solar system is from type II [core collapse] supernova, with a sprinkling of type I supernova dust. The milky way has rotated a number of times since the birth of the solar system and stars in the MW follow their own path as opposed to traveling in cohesive herds around the galaxy. So, there is no telling where the primary remnants [if any] of supernova that seeded our formation may be now, although it is conceivable they may still be 'out there' somewhere. Keep in mind much of that seed material may have been deposited long before our solar system even thought about forming.
     
  8. Aug 4, 2016 #7
    The nebula which eventually became our solar system mostly likely contained material originating from many now dead stars, not just one.
    Much of it however could have been primordial Hydrogen and some Helium within the galaxy that had not been previously part of any star.
    98% of the original nebula is now in the Sun, and the Sun is largely Hydrogen.
     
  9. Aug 4, 2016 #8

    Ken G

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    Minor nitpick-- there are two main types of supernova, the collapse of a low-mass white dwarf in a binary star system, and the collapse of an iron core of a massive star. There are also two main overall types of supernovae, type I and type II. So it would be natural to equate them, but that is not really correct. We cannot associate all core collapse supernovae with type II supernovae, since many type I supernovae are core collapse supernovae also. The type I just means there is no detectable hydrogen, so it can be the core collapse of a star with little hydrogen left. The only type that is the collapse of a low-mass white dwarf in a binary is called type Ia. So it is true that all type II are core collapse, but we must avoid the common implication that all type I are not core collapse. Instead, we should speak of type Ia, and core collapse, and only use type II when we want to say that hydrogen is still present in the supernova ejecta.
     
  10. Aug 5, 2016 #9
    Perhaps if we could somehow accuratly determine the location, mass and speed of all massive bodies in our Milky Way, wouldn't that allow us to reverse simulate the solar system path though the Wilky way and find out who pregnated our solar system?
     
  11. Aug 5, 2016 #10

    Chronos

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    I think not. Too many n's in that n body problem.
     
  12. Aug 5, 2016 #11

    phinds

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    I think you have no concept of the extent of that "if"
     
  13. Aug 5, 2016 #12

    Ken G

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    The fact that there are metallicity gradients in the interstellar medium tells us that the gas is not completely mixed from all the supernovae that have occurred, but the fact that the gradients seem pretty smooth suggest there is not just one supernova for each local region.
     
  14. Aug 5, 2016 #13
    Yeah, all 100 billion of them:) a weekend exercise.
     
  15. Aug 5, 2016 #14

    phinds

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    No, no. THAT is just a conservative estimate of the number of GALAXIES in the known universe. Each of those has over 100 billion stars. and each of those probably averages at least a few planets. It gets to be a silly big number if thinking of knowing where they all are and their trajectories.

    EDIT: OH, wait. I got carried away. We're "only" talking about the Milky way, so 100 billion stars, each with numerous planets and moons. It's still ridiculous.
     
  16. Aug 5, 2016 #15

    Chronos

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    You are a bit on the low side there phinds, the usual estimate for number of stars in the MW ranges from a low of about 200 billion up to over a trillion [regarded as a nice round number for most astronomical purposes]. In any case, it is way too many to handle in any meaningful calculation
     
  17. Aug 5, 2016 #16

    DaveC426913

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    Our galaxy has rotated about 19 times just since the Sun's birth.

    The MW is estimated to be at least 12 billion years old, give or take a Gy or two. That's 48 rotations before the Sun came to be.

    Galaxies do not rotate as a unit. The Orion Arm of MW did not always exist; spiral arms are a trait of older galaxies. There may not even have been spiral arms when the sun was born.

    That gives a good start to just how chaotic the motions of stars within a galaxy are.
     
  18. Aug 9, 2016 #17
    The rotational dynamics of our galaxy is still being studied and the assumed presence of dark matter complicates the process significantly. In the over 4 billion years since the formation of the solar system a significant amount of mixing has occurred so, with our present understanding, reconstructing the configuration of objects in the distant past is a bit like unscrambling an egg. The reason we believe that the present mix of atomic species is the result of nucleosynthesis deep in giant stars that the process is consistent with our understanding of nuclear physics and stellar dynamics. Does that mean it's true or does it just mean that we have a model that agrees with what we can observe. But that is what the science of cosmology is all about.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  19. Aug 9, 2016 #18

    DaveC426913

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    Indeed. Pretty much what all science is about. :smile:
     
  20. Aug 9, 2016 #19
    So does this mean it's all a theory and no one knows?
     
  21. Aug 9, 2016 #20
    Pretty much but that is true of much of science. We have theories that are testable by means of experiment and when the experimental results compare favorably with the predictions of the theory we can say the theory is strengthened. But scientists know that even well demonstrated theories such as Newtonian mechanics or Einstein's relativity have limits beyond which they do not apply. In that sense they are not necessarily wrong but they are incomplete. That is the nature of science that most laymen fail to appreciate. Science is the study of incomplete knowledge and how to deal with things that we understand only partially. Reality is vastly more complicated than any theory that you can write down on a sheet of paper. Some times we can get pretty close but it's really hard to see the whole picture.
     
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