Research Article

Toward an Astrophysical Theory of Chondrites

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Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1545-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1545


The chondrules, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), and rims in chondritic meteorites could be formed when solid bodies are lifted by the aerodynamic drag of a magnetocentrifugally driven wind out of the relative cool of a shaded disk close to the star into the heat of direct sunlight. For reasonable self-consistent parameters of the bipolar outflow, the base and peak temperatures reached by solid bodies resemble those needed to melt CAIs and chondrules. The process also yields a natural sorting mechanism that explains the size distribution of CAIs and chondrules, as well as their fine-grained and coarse-grained rims. After reentry at great distances from the original launch radius, the CAIs, chondrules, and their rims would be compacted with the ambient nebular dust comprising the matrices, forming the observed chondritic bodies.

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