The University of Arizona

Outward transport of CAIs during FU-Orionis events



Evidence from meteorites shows that the first solids to form in the solar system, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), were transported outward from the Sun by several AU in the early solar system. We introduce a new concept of levitation and outward transport of CAIs at the surface of protoplanetary disks. Thermal radiation from the disk and the Sun can cause particles to levitate above the disk and drift outward through a process known as photophoresis. During normal conditions this process only works for dust-sized particles but during high luminosity events like FU-Orionis outbursts, the process can provide an efficient lift and transport of CAIs from within the inner 1 AU to a distance of several AU from the Sun. This might explain why CAIs, believed to have formed close to the Sun, are common in meteorites believed to come from the outer asteroid belt but are rare or absent in samples from the inner solar system. Since the process only works during the FU-Orionis event and only for particles up to cm-size, it may also explain why the CAIs we find in meteorites appear to have formed within a short period of time and why they rarely exceed cm size.


Calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs);solar Nebula;Formation location

Full Text: