Interstellar Space Clouds Triggered the Ice Ages, Research Suggests | Space

The Pleistocene Epoch—with its glaciers, woolly mammoths, and Neanderthals—still looms large in Earth’s rearview mirror, having ended a mere 12,000 years ago. Now, a team of researchers posit that those hundreds of thousands of years of our planet’s history may have been chilly due to a cloud in space that briefly removed Earth from the safety of the Sun’s warm glow.

“This paper is the first to quantitatively show there was an encounter between the sun and something outside of the solar system that would have affected Earth’s climate,” said Merav Opher, an astrophysicist at Boston University and lead author of the study, in an email to Gizmodo. Opher added that the team is “still trying to quantify it with modern climate models” but with an increase of hydrogen and dust “Earth would have entered in an Ice Age.”

Opher’s team modeled data from the HI4PI survey and found that our solar system may have passed through the…

Source gizmodo.com

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