Chondrules themselves formed through quick melting events in the dusty gas cloud -- the solar nebula -- that surrounded the young sun.
As chondrules cooled, iron-bearing minerals within them became magnetized like bits on a hard drive by the local magnetic field in the gas.
My modeling for the heating events shows that shock waves passing through the solar nebula is what melted most chondrules," Desch explained.
There are other ideas for how chondrules might have formed, some involving magnetic flares above the solar nebula, or passage through the sun's magnetic field.
Generally, chondrules are made up of minerals rich in silicon, but the chondrules we found in this meteorite are completely different in that they are composed of sulfide minerals," she explained.
Our discovery of the sulfide chondrules will help us put a quantifiable number on how much sulfide was enhanced in that region of the protoplanetary disk," Miller added.
These sulfide chondrules help us pin down when and where that sulfur enhancement occurred and help us better understand the process," she added.
With their high precision measurements, they are able to date formation times for chondrules
very precisely," he said.
The origins of chondrules, which are typically about a millimetre across, are shrouded in mystery.
But, calculations on the retention of sodium by the chondrules suggest they formed in dense swarms.
Collisions between such magma balls would breach their thin crusts of solid rock, spraying molten material into space, where the droplets would quickly cool to form chondrules.
That is the period when chondrules formed, based on measurements of key isotopes within them.