Solar system may be millions of years older than previously thought

The age of the solar system may be 1 million years older than previously thought. The study was published in the journal Icarus, writes IFLScience.

According to new calculations, the age of the solar system is 4.5684 billion years, plus or minus 240 thousand years. Previous estimates were about 1.1 million years lower – 4.5673 billion years. The change is small, but a lot can happen on a planetary scale in 1 million years.

““To learn about the birth of planets and the story of our Solar System’s first few million years, we study meteorites that bear witness to this era,” explained the authors of the article. “It is especially crucial to constrain the times at which their constituent components formed, the times at which their parent planetesimals accreted and melted, when collisions occurred, and to constrain the relative order of these events in the context of the solar nebula.”

Scientists have studied calcium and aluminum-rich inclusions (CAI) found in meteorites. Some isotopes are radioactive, and over time they change into other elements.

The time depends on the stability of the isotope. Some exist for a few seconds, others for hours, days, or even billions of years. So by looking at specific isotope ratios, scientists can figure out how long ago the rocks in question were formed.

Earlier, the Webb telescope photographed for the first time the belt of asteroids outside our solar system.

This allowed scientists to better study one of the brightest stars in the night sky – Fomalhaut. It is located 25 light-years from Earth and is surrounded by three asteroid belts.