Hydrogen Burning of 29Si and Its Impact on Presolar Stardust Grains from Classical NovaeOPEN ACCESS 

Lori Downen, Christian Iliadis, Art Champagne, Thomas Clegg, Alain Coc, and Jordi José

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 928, Number 2


“Presolar stardust grains found in primitive meteorites are believed to retain the isotopic composition of stellar outflows at the time of grain condensation. Therefore, laboratory measurements of their isotopic ratios represent sensitive probes for investigating open questions related to stellar evolution, stellar explosions, nucleosynthesis, mixing mechanisms, dust formation, and galactic chemical evolution. For a few selected presolar grains, classical novae have been discussed as a potential source. For SiC, silicate, and graphite presolar grains, the association is based on the observation of small N(12C)/N(13C) and N(14N)/N(15N) number abundance ratios compared to solar values, and abundance excesses in 30Si relative to 29Si, as previously predicted by models of classical novae. We report on a direct measurement of the 29Si(p,γ)30P reaction, which strongly impacts simulated δ29Si values from classical novae. Our new experimental 29Si(p,γ)30P thermonuclear reaction rate differs from previous results by up to 50% in the classical nova temperature range (T= 100–400 MK), while the rate uncertainty is reduced by up to a factor of 3. Using our new reaction rate in Monte Carlo reaction network and hydrodynamic simulations of classical novae, we estimate δ29Si values with much reduced uncertainties. Our results establish δ29Si values measured in presolar grains as a sensitive probe for assessing their classical nova paternity. We also demonstrate that δ30Si values from nova simulations are currently not a useful diagnostic tool unless the large uncertainty of the 30P(p,γ)31S reaction rate can be significantly reduced.”