Forming Chondrules in Impact Splashes. I. radiative Cooling Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The formation of chondrules is one of the oldest unsolved mysteries in meteoritics and planet formation. Recently an old idea has been revived: the idea that chondrules form as a result of collisions between planetesimals in which the ejected molten material forms small droplets that solidify to become chondrules. Pre-melting of the planetesimals by radioactive decay of Al-26 would help produce sprays of melt even at relatively low impact velocity. In this paper we study the radiative cooling of a ballistically expanding spherical cloud of chondrule droplets ejected from the impact site. We present results from numerical radiative transfer models as well as analytic approximate solutions. We find that the temperature after the start of the expansion of the cloud remains constant for a time t(cool) and then drops with time t approximately as T similar or equal to T-0[(315)t/t(cool)+ 2/5](-5/3) for t > t(cool). The time at which this temperature drop starts t(cool) depends via an analytical formula on the mass of the cloud, the expansion velocity, and the size of the chondrule. During the early isothermal expansion phase the density is still so high that we expect the vapor of volatile elements to saturate so that no large volatile losses are expected.


External organisations
  • Heidelberg University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • meteorites, radiative transfer, meteors, meteoroids
Original languageEnglish
Article number91
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch