2007 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | JUL 2006 – JUN 2007
Assessing the Likelihood of Supernova Impact of Protoplanetary Disks
We estimate the likelihood of direct injection of supernova ejecta into protoplanetary disks using a model in which the number of stars with disks decreases linearly with time, and clusters expand linearly with time such that their surface density is independent of stellar number. The similarity of disk dissipation and main-sequence lifetimes implies that the typical supernova progenitor is very massive, ~75-100 Msolar. Such massive stars are found only in clusters with >~104 members. Moreover, there is only a small region around a supernova within which disks can survive the blast yet be enriched to the level observed in the solar system. These two factors limit the overall likelihood of supernova enrichment of a protoplanetary disk to <~1%. If the presence of short-lived radionucleides in meteorites is to be explained in this way, however, the solar system most likely formed in one of the largest clusters in the Galaxy, more than 2 orders of magnitude greater than Orion, where multiple supernovae impacted many disks in a short period of time.