Research Article

Supernova Olivine from Cometary Dust

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 737-741
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109602

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An interplanetary dust particle contains a submicrometer crystalline silicate aggregate of probable supernova origin. The grain has a pronounced enrichment in 18O/16O (13 times the solar value) and depletions in 17O/16O (one-third solar) and 29Si/28Si (<0.8 times solar), indicative of formation from a type II supernova. The aggregate contains olivine (forsterite 83) grains <100 nanometers in size, with microstructures that are consistent with minimal thermal alteration. This unusually iron-rich olivine grain could have formed by equilibrium condensation from cooling supernova ejecta if several different nucleosynthetic zones mixed in the proper proportions. The supernova grain is also partially encased in nitrogen-15-rich organic matter that likely formed in a presolar cold molecular cloud.

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