Chondrules

These ‘primitive’ meteorites preserve evidence from the formation of the Solar System and invite questions about even earlier times.

In the universe’s emptiness, a giant molecular haze
Collapsed because of gravity (which everything obeys).
Its primal specks collided, becoming molten grains
Which cooled down very quickly (for equilibrium reigns!).
These rounded blobs were chondrules: with silicates aglow,
Like olivine and pyroxene, as modern tests can show.

A solar nebular disk formed in the vastness of the voids,
Precursor to our Sun and planets, moons and asteroids.
The chondrules, in this milieu, found these asteroids attractive
And forced themselves upon them, but soon became their captive.
You’ll only find a chondrule locked in stony meteorites
That haven’t been re-melted: that’s the sort now called chondrites.

So if you spot a chondrite, with a chondrule crew on board,
Just think what ancient provenance is in its structure stored!
It holds, untouched, a record of the Solar System’s birth
Some four point five six billion years before our time on Earth.
But that invites another thought: whence came those primal specks?
Perhaps it’s better not to ask – we’d all be nervous wrecks. . .

[Image from Minnesota State University]
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