Unique Carbon Monoxide Found in Star's Gas Ring
Astronomers found rare combinations of carbon and oxygen isotopes within a disk of gas and dust around the star, HD 163296.
The goal of these observations: They are seeking the content and mass of the disk.
Recent observations of protoplanetary discs have perplexed astronomers because they did not seem to contain enough gas and dust to create the planets observed.
The academic paper linked in the story had this:
With the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array we have detected the rarest stable CO isotopologue, Carbon-13 with Oxygen-17, in a protoplanetary disk for the first time. We compare our observations with the existing detections of Carbon-12 with Oxygen-16, Carbon-12 with Oxygen-18, in the HD 163296 disk.
These stable isotopes are the result of one or two additional neutrons to C or O.
SAFIRE had reported detection of several atomic numbers not present at the start of the experiment. Those changes in an atomic number are a change in protons.
Neither the story nor the paper offers a hypothesis for how these rare isotopes came to be in this disk.
SAFIRE observed unexpected elements outside of a globe, not inside an object having the necessary pressure to sustain fusion.
These unexpected isotopes, among others, in a star's 'protoplanetary disk' are interesting.
The disk is assumed to have only gravity drawing matter together so progressively a larger body with more mass is created. New isotopes will not arise during this accretion.
I do not know the sample size but this is the 'first time' they were detected.
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