The Earth and the Sun Are Very Similar, Only That Our Planet Is Less Volatile


The Earth formation started around 4.5 billion years ago when our Solar System was merely a cloud of cold dust particles which compressed as a result of gravitational forces, forming a huge spinning disk. The center of the disk formed the Sun, while the other particles turned into the planets we know today.

Australian National University examined the resemblance between Earth and the Sun and found out that they are made up of the same elements, only that the Earth has fewer hydrogen, helium, oxygen, and nitrogen, which make our planet less volatile than our host star.

The study might help researchers find out habitable exoplanets

In an era where scientists try to find habitable planets outside our Solar System, Dr. Haiyang Wang, the lead author of this new study, said that “the composition of a rocky planet is one of the most important missing pieces in our efforts to find out whether a planet is habitable or not.”

Co-author Professor Trevor Ireland, from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences, said the team conducted the study by comparing the composition of the Earth rocks with meteorites and the Sun’s outer shell.

“This comparison yields a wealth of information about the way the Earth formed. There is a remarkably linear volatility trend that can be used as a baseline to understand the relationships between meteorite, planet and stellar compositions,” he said.

What is the Earth formed of?

It is hard to say what our planet is made of precisely since drilling has reached only 10 kilometers in depth, but Associate Professor Lineweaver said Earth’s most abundant elements – iron, oxygen, silicon, and magnesium – made up more than 90 percent of the planet’s mass.

The new study titled “The Volatility Trend of Protosolar and Terrestrial Elemental Abundances” will soon be published in the journal Icarus.


Related Posts