News of the WeekAstronomy

Stellar Flares Illuminate Young Sun's Outbursts

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Science  08 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5561, pp. 1813-1815
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5561.1813a

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A nursery of unruly stars in the Orion Nebula has yielded the best look yet at our sun's baby album. Based on data from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, it appears that the sun threw more tantrums than expected, in the form of powerful x-ray flares that zapped the surrounding disk of gas and dust. These flares may have seeded the early solar system with fragile radioactive isotopes. However, it remains likely that some of the unstable compounds also drifted into our sun's domain from nearby exploding stars.