Mineralogy of Presolar Silicate and Oxide Grains of Diverse Stellar Origins

Ann N. Nguyen, Lindsay P. Keller, and Scott Messenger

Astrophysical Journal, Volume 818, Number 1


“We report the chemical and structural analysis of nine presolar silicate grains and one presolar oxide grain from the ungrouped chondrite Acfer 094 and the CR chondrite Queen Alexandra Range 99177. Oxygen isotopic analyses indicate that five of these grains condensed in the outflows of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, four have supernova (SN) origins, and one grain likely has a nova origin. Transmission electron microscopy studies show that most of the grains are amorphous with widely varying non-stoichiometric chemical compositions. Three crystalline AGB grains were identified: a clinoenstatite-containing grain assemblage, a Fe-rich olivine grain, and a nanocrystalline enstatite grain encased in an amorphous silicate shell. An amorphous stoichiometric enstatite (MgSiO3) SN grain likely condensed as a crystal and was later rendered amorphous. We do not observe a systematic difference in the chemistries and mineralogies of presolar silicates from different stellar sources, suggesting that the grains formed under a similar range of conditions.”