Reaction rate uncertainties and Al in AGB silicon carbide stardust
Sterrekundig Instituut, University of Utrecht, Postbus 80000 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: [m.a.vanraai; m.lugaro]@phys.uu.nl
2 Centre for Stellar and Planetary Astrophysics, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
3 Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Rd., Weston, ACT 2611, Australia e-mail: email@example.com
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3255, USA; Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory, PO Box 90308, Durham, NC 27708-0308, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 20 November 2007
Context. Stardust is a class of presolar grains each of which presents an ideally uncontaminated stellar sample. Mainstream silicon carbide (SiC) stardust formed in the extended envelopes of carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars and incorporated the radioactive nucleus 26Al as a trace element.
Aims.The aim of this paper is to analyse in detail the effect of nuclear uncertainties, in particular the large uncertainties of up to four orders of magnitude related to the 26Alg()27Si reaction rate, on the production of 26Al in AGB stars and compare model predictions to data obtained from laboratory analysis of SiC stardust grains. Stellar uncertainties are also briefly discussed.
Methods.We use a detailed nucleosynthesis postprocessing code to calculate the 26Al/27Al ratios at the surface of AGB stars of different masses (M = 1.75, 3, and 5 M) and metallicities (Z = 0.02, 0.012, and 0.008).
Results.For the lower limit and recommended value of the 26Alg()27Si reaction rate, the predicted 26Al/27Al ratios replicate the upper values of the range of the 26Al/27Al ratios measured in SiC grains. For the upper limit of the 26Alg()27Si reaction rate, instead, the predicted 26Al/27Al ratios are ≈100 times lower and lie below the range observed in SiC grains. When considering models of different masses and metallicities, the spread of more than an order of magnitude in the 26Al/27Al ratios measured in stellar SiC grains is not reproduced.
Conclusions. We propose two scenarios to explain the spread of the 26Al/27Al ratios observed in mainstream SiC, depending on the choice of the 26Al reaction rate. One involves different times of stardust formation, the other involves extra-mixing processes. Stronger conclusions on the interpretation of the Al composition of AGB stardust will be possible after more information is available from future nuclear experiments on the 26Al reaction.
Key words: nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances / stars: AGB and post-AGB
© ESO, 2008