Notice: This is an archived and unmaintained page. For current information, please browse

2009 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

Astrophysical Controls on the Elements of Life, Task 4: Model the Injection of Supernova Material Into Protoplanetary Disks

Project Summary

Supernova-generated material can affect the evolution of a solar system when supernova ejecta enter protoplanetary disks. We are particularly interested in the injection of 26Al, a short-lived radioactive isotope that can affect the delivery of water to Earth-like planets when they are formed. In this task, we are conducting numerical calculations to model such injections in our Solar System, and to understand the consequences for oxygen isotope compositions that can be measured in meteorites.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
2 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

We have continued our investigations into how supernova material is injected into protoplanetary disks, and what the observational consequences would be. This has resulted in 3 journal papers submitted during the reporting period.

The first, by ASU co-I Steve Desch, former Ph.D. student Nicolas Ouellette and collaborator Jeff Hester, represents much of the doctoral thesis work by Ouellette. In this paper (Ouellette et al. 2010, in revision, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal), we investigate the efficiency with which dust grains can condense from supernova ejecta (reviewing astronomical observations), and perform numerical calculations of the trajectories of those grains as the ejecta flows into and around protoplanetary disks.

The second is by ASU graduate student Carola Ellinger, collaborator Patrick Young and co-I Desch. In this paper (Ellinger et al. 2010, in revision, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal), we investigate the collateral shifts in solar nebula oxygen isotopes that would accompany injection of supernova material sufficient to produce the abundances of short-lived radionuclides like 26Al inferred from meteorites to have existed in the protoplanetary disk. These isotopic shifts are regarded in the meteoritics community as a firm test of the hypothesis that supernovae injected radionuclides into our protoplanetary disk. This work was also presented at the 2009 meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Nancy, France. It represents an especially close interaction between meteoriticists and astrophysicists.

    Steven Desch Steven Desch
    Project Investigator
    Patrick Young

    John Hester

    Carola Ellinger
    Graduate Student

    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts