NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0127

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0127


PI: Sean Brittain, Clemson University, sbritt@clemson.edu
Address: Physics Department, 118 Kinard Laboratory, Clemson, SC 29634-0978, United States

CoI: Joan Najita, NOAO
CoI: John Carr, NRL
CoI: Greg Doppmann, NOAO

Title: Oxygen Isotope Ratios in Protoplanetary Disks

Abstract: Meteorites provide important clues about the environment from which our solar system formed. Their mineralogical and isotopic composition provides important insight into the thermal, chemical and dynamical history of the protoplanetary disk. One of the most intriguing discoveries to come from the study of meteorites is the depletion of the ^18O/^16O and ^17O/^16O ratios in the oldest components of meteorites relative to Earth. These measurements suggest that the gas from which the sun condensed was more ^16O-rich than the material from which planets formed. The leading explanation for this isotopic anomaly is the selective dissociation of CO in the outer protoplanetary disk or envelope. The basic premise is that the freed ^17,18O atoms in the outer disk formed water that then enriched the ^17,18O abundance in rocky material. Thus, bodies that formed later (such as planets) were increasingly enriched in ^17,18O. To test this scenario, we will probe the efficiency of selective dissociation of CO in nearby protoplanetary disk systems. We will measure the isotopic ratio of C^17O/C^18O/C^16O by acquiring high-resolution absorption spectra of ro-vibrational CO lines from edge-on disks and envelopes.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0127

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