The extraterrestrial rock Hypatia, found in the Egyptian desert in 1996, could be the first tangible evidence to arrive on our planet of a rare type Ia supernova, which is one of the most energetic events in the universe generated by the explosion of a white dwarf.
This is indicated by the chemical analyzes published in the journal Icarus by experts from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.
The study of Hypatia's composition and structure suggests that the rock may contain residues of gas and dust that once surrounded a Type Ia supernova, generated by the explosion of a white dwarf that had previously devoured another star.
With the cooling that took place over billions of years, that mix of dust and gas would turn into a solid, constituting the 'mother' body from which Hypatia would break away at the dawn of the solar system.
"In a way, we could say that we caught a supernova AI explosion in the act, because the gas atoms from the explosion were captured in the surrounding dust cloud that eventually formed Hypatia's mother body." Says geochemist Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg.
"If this hypothesis is correct - continues the researcher - the Hypatia rock would be the first tangible evidence on Earth of the explosion of a type Ia supernova. Equally important, it demonstrates how an anomalous 'packet' of dust from space can having been incorporated into the nebula from which our solar system formed, without being mixed in. This goes against the conventional idea that the dust that formed our solar system was entirely mixed. "