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Solar system

Magnesium oxide undergoes dynamic transition when it comes to super-Earth exoplanets

Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Johns Hopkins University have unlocked new secrets about the interiors of super-Earth exoplanets, potentially revolutionizing our understanding of these distant worlds. The focus of this work, magnesium oxide (MgO), a crucial component of Earth’s lower mantle, is believed to play a similar role in the…

Meteorite made up of rare early solar system material

It looked like a fireball in the sky. It created a sonic boom. It vaporized upon entering the atmosphere. It's all of the above: The Sutter's Mill Meteorite had the force of 4 kilotons of TNT upon descent and spilled samples of itself over the towns of Columa and Lotus in northern California when it hit Earth last spring. And now a consortium of scientists including…

Putting the squeeze on planets outside our solar system

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Just as graphite can transform into diamond under high pressure, liquid magmas may similarly undergo major transformations at the pressures and temperatures that exist deep inside Earth-like planets. Using high-powered lasers, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and collaborators discovered that molten magnesium silicate undergoes a…

Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Scientists have found that calcium, aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), some of the oldest objects in the solar system, formed far away from our sun and then later fell back into the mid-plane of the solar system. The findings may lead to a greater understanding of how our solar system and possibly other solar systems formed and evolved. CAIs, roughly…

New pictures show fourth planet in giant version of our solar system

Astronomers have discovered a fourth giant planet, joining three others that, in 2008, were the subject of the first-ever pictures of a planetary system orbiting another star other than our sun. The solar system, discovered by a team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics with…