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Stellar Production Rates of Carbon and Its Abundance in the Universe

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Science  07 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5476, pp. 88-90
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5476.88

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Abstract

The bulk of the carbon in our universe is produced in the triple-alpha process in helium-burning red giant stars. We calculated the change of the triple-alpha reaction rate in a microscopic 12-nucleon model of the 12C nucleus and looked for the effects of minimal variations of the strengths of the underlying interactions. Stellar model calculations were performed with the alternative reaction rates. Here, we show that outside a narrow window of 0.5 and 4% of the values of the strong and Coulomb forces, respectively, the stellar production of carbon or oxygen is reduced by factors of 30 to 1000.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ohu{at}kph.tuwien.ac.at

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