Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Origin of meteoritic stardust unveiled by a revised proton-capture rate of 17O

Abstract

Stardust grains recovered from meteorites provide high-precision snapshots of the isotopic composition of the stellar environment in which they formed1. Attributing their origin to specific types of stars, however, often proves difficult. Intermediate-mass stars of 4–8 solar masses are expected to have contributed a large fraction of meteoritic stardust2,3. Yet, no grains have been found with the characteristic isotopic compositions expected for such stars4,5. This is a long-standing puzzle, which points to serious gaps in our understanding of the lifecycle of stars and dust in our Galaxy. Here we show that the increased proton-capture rate of 17O reported by a recent underground experiment6 leads to 17O/16O isotopic ratios that match those observed in a population of stardust grainsfor proton-burning temperatures of 60–80 MK. These temperatures are achieved at the base of the convective envelope during the late evolution of intermediate-mass stars of 4–8 solar masses79, which reveals them as the most likely site of origin of the grains. This result provides direct evidence that these stars contributed to the dust inventory from which the Solar System formed.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Schematic of the internal structure of AGB stars at the interface between the H-burning region and the convective envelope.
Figure 2: Equilibrium 17O/16O ratio defined as the ratio of the production to destruction rates of 17O in the temperature range of interest for AGB stars.
Figure 3: Evolution of the oxygen isotopic ratios at the surface of AGB models of different masses.
Figure 4: Evolution of selected Mg versus O and Al versus O isotopic ratios at the surface of AGB models of different masses.

References

  1. Zinner, E. in Treatise on Geochemistry 2nd edn, Vol. 1 (ed. Davis, A. M. ) 181–213 (Elsevier, 2014).

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  2. Gail, H.-P., Zhukovska, S. V., Hoppe, P. & Trieloff, M. Stardust from asymptotic giant branch stars. Astrophys. J. 698, 1136–1154 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Zhukovska, S., Petrov, M. & Henning, T. Can star cluster environment affect dust input from massive AGB stars? Astrophys. J. 810, 128 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Lugaro, M. et al. On the asymptotic giant branch star origin of peculiar spinel grain OC2. Astron. Astrophys. 461, 657–664 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Iliadis, C., Angulo, C., Descouvemont, P., Lugaro, M. & Mohr, P. New reaction rate for 16O(p,γ)17F and its influence on the oxygen isotopic ratios in massive AGB stars. Phys. Rev. C 77, 045802 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bruno, C. G. et al. Improved direct measurement of the 64.5 keV resonance strength in the 17O(p, α)14N reaction at LUNA. Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 142502 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Ventura, P., Di Criscienzo, M., Carini, R. & D’Antona, F. Yields of AGB and SAGB models with chemistry of low- and high-metallicity globular clusters. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 431, 3642–3653 (2013).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Cristallo, S., Straniero, O., Piersanti, L. & Gobrecht, D. Evolution, nucleosynthesis, and yields of AGB stars at different metallicities. III. Intermediate-mass models, revised low-mass models, and the ph-FRUITY interface. Astrophys. J. Suppl. 219, 40 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Karakas, A. I. & Lugaro, M. Stellar yields from metal-rich asymptotic giant branch models. Astrophys. J. 825, 26 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Nittler, L. R., Alexander, C. M. O’D., Gao, X., Walker, R. M. & Zinner, E. Stellar sapphires: The properties and origins of presolar Al2O3 in meteorites. Astrophys. J. 483, 475–495 (1997).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Wood, P. R., Bessell, M. S. & Fox, M. W. Long-period variables in the Magellanic Clouds: Supergiants, AGB stars, supernova precursors, planetary nebula precursors, and enrichment of the interstellar medium. Astrophys. J. 272, 99–115 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Iliadis, C., Longland, R., Champagne, A. E., Coc, A. & Fitzgerald, R. Charged-particle thermonuclear reaction rates: II. Tables and graphs of reaction rates and probability density functions. Nucl. Phys. A 841, 31–250 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Nollett, K. M., Busso, M. & Wasserburg, G. J. Cool bottom processes on the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch and the isotopic composition of circumstellar dust grains. Astrophys. J. 582, 1036–1058 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Palmerini, S., La Cognata, M., Cristallo, S. & Busso, M. Deep mixing in evolved stars. I. The effect of reaction rate revisions from C to Al. Astrophys. J. 729, 3 (2011).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. Nucci, M. C. & Busso, M. Magnetohydrodynamics and deep mixing in evolved stars. I. two- and three-dimensional analytical models for the asymptotic giant branch. Astrophys. J. 787, 141 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Buckner, M. Q. et al. High-intensity-beam study of 17O(p, γ)18F and thermonuclear reaction rates for 17O+p. Phys. Rev. C 91, 015812 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Justtanont, K. et al. Herschel observations of extreme OH/IR stars. The isotopic ratios of oxygen as a sign-post for the stellar mass. Astron. Astrophys. 578, A115 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Gyngard, F. et al. Automated NanoSIMS measurements of spinel stardust from the Murray meteorite. Astrophys. J. 717, 107–120 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Nittler, L. R. et al. Aluminum-, calcium- and titanium-rich oxide stardust in ordinary chondrite meteorites. Astrophys. J. 682, 1450–1478 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  20. Straniero, O. et al. Impact of a revised 25Mg(p, γ)26Al reaction rate on the operation of the Mg-Al cycle. Astrophys. J. 763, 100 (2013).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  21. Hynes, K. M. & Gyngard, F. In 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Abstract 1198 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, 2009); http://presolar.wustl.edu/~pgd/welcome.html.

  22. Asplund, M., Grevesse, N., Sauval, A. J. & Scott, P. The chemical composition of the Sun. Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 47, 481–522 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  23. Karakas, A. I. Helium enrichment and carbon-star production in metal-rich populations. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 445, 347–358 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  24. Karakas, A. I. Updated stellar yields from asymptotic giant branch models. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 403, 1413–1425 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  25. Vassiliadis, E. & Wood, P. R. Evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars to the end of the asymptotic giant branch with mass loss. Astrophys. J. 413, 641–657 (1993).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  26. Marigo, P. & Aringer, B. Low-temperature gas opacity. ÆSOPUS: a versatile and quick computational tool. Astron. Astrophys. 508, 1539–1569 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  27. Lattanzio, J. C. The asymptotic giant branch evolution of 1.0–3.0 solar mass stars as a function of mass and composition. Astrophys. J. 311, 708–730 (1986).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  28. Longland, R., Iliadis, C. & Karakas, A. I. Reaction rates for the s-process neutron source 22Ne + α . Phys. Rev. C 85, 065809 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank O. Pols and R. Izzard for useful insights on binary systems and P. Marigo for discussion of our results. M.L. is a Momentum (‘Lendìlet-2014’ Programme) project leader of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. M.L. and A.I.K. are grateful for the support of the National Computational Infrastructure National Facility at the Australian National University.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

M.L. designed and carried out the research, ran the nucleosynthesis models, prepared the figures, and wrote the paper. A.I.K. ran the stellar structure models, discussed the results and wrote the paper. C.G.B. played a key role in the set up and running of the underground experiment relating to the 17O(p, α)14N reaction and analysed the data to derive the new rate. M.A. contributed to running the experiment and wrote the paper. L.R.N. contributed to the collection of the stardust grain data, discussed the results, prepared the figures, and wrote the paper. The other authors are co-investigators who set up and ran the underground experiment that lasted about three years, from 2012 to 2015, and made the measurements possible. O.S. also discussed the results.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Lugaro.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 73 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lugaro, M., Karakas, A., Bruno, C. et al. Origin of meteoritic stardust unveiled by a revised proton-capture rate of 17O. Nat Astron 1, 0027 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-016-0027

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-016-0027

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing