Isotopic enrichment of forming planetary systems from supernova pollution


Tim Lichtenberg, Richard J. Parker & Michael R. Meyer
MNRAS, 462(4), 3979-3992 (2016)
DOI - NASA ADS - arXiv

Abstract

Heating by short-lived radioisotopes (SLRs) such as aluminum-26 and iron-60 fundamentally shaped the thermal history and interior structure of Solar System planetesimals during the early stages of planetary formation. The subsequent thermo-mechanical evolution, such as internal differentiation or rapid volatile degassing, yields important implications for the final structure, composition and evolution of terrestrial planets. SLR-driven heating in the Solar System is sensitive to the absolute abundance and homogeneity of SLRs within the protoplanetary disk present during the condensation of the first solids. In order to explain the diverse compositions found for extrasolar planets, it is important to understand the distribution of SLRs in active planet formation regions (star clusters) during their first few Myr of evolution.

By constraining the range of possible effects, we show how the imprint of SLRs can be extrapolated to exoplanetary systems and derive statistical predictions for the distribution of aluminum-26 and iron-60 based on N-body simulations of typical to large clusters (1000-10000 stars) with a range of initial conditions. We quantify the pollution of protoplanetary disks by supernova ejecta and show that the likelihood of enrichment levels similar to or higher than the Solar System can vary considerably, depending on the cluster morphology. Furthermore, many enriched systems show an excess in radiogenic heating compared to Solar System levels, which implies that the formation and evolution of planetesimals could vary significantly depending on the birth environment of their host stars.

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