Space Science Reviews

, Volume 138, Issue 1–4, pp 43–57 | Cite as

Reservoir for Comet Material: Circumstellar Grains

Open Access
Article

Abstract

Primitive meteorites and interplanetary dust particles contain small quantities of dust grains with highly anomalous isotopic compositions. These grains formed in the winds of evolved stars and in the ejecta of stellar explosions, i.e., they represent a sample of circumstellar grains that can be analyzed with high precision in the laboratory. Such studies have provided a wealth of information on stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis, Galactic chemical evolution, grain growth in stellar environments, interstellar chemistry, and the inventory of stars that contributed dust to the Solar System. Among the identified circumstellar grains in primitive solar system matter are diamond, graphite, silicon carbide, silicon nitride, oxides, and silicates. Circumstellar grains have also been found in cometary matter. To date the available information on circumstellar grains in comets is limited, but extended studies of matter returned by the Stardust mission may help to overcome the existing gaps.

Keywords

Solar system: formation Comets: general Meteors, meteoroids Circumstellar matter Dust, extinction Nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Particle Chemistry DepartmentMax-Planck-Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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