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Published September 1, 2022 | public
Journal Article

The Isotopic Abundances of Galactic Cosmic Rays with Atomic Number 29 ≤ Z ≤ 38


The Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer (CRIS) on the Advanced Composition Explorer spacecraft has been operating successfully in a halo orbit about the L1 Lagrange point since late 1997. We report here the isotopic composition of the Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) elements with 29 ≤ Z ≤ 38 derived from more than 20 years of CRIS data. Using a model of cosmic-ray transport in the Galaxy and the solar system (SS), we have derived from these observations the isotopic composition of the accelerated material at the GCR source (GCRS). Comparison of the isotopic fractions of these elements in the GCRS with corresponding fractions in the solar system gives no indication of GCRS enrichment in r-process isotopes. Since a large fraction of core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) occur in OB associations, the fact that GCRs do not contain enhanced abundances of r-process nuclides indicates that CCSNe are not the principal source of lighter (Z ≤ 38) r-process nuclides in the solar system. This conclusion supports recent work that points to binary neutron-star mergers, rather than supernovae, as the principal source of galactic r-process isotopes.

Additional Information

NASA grant Nos. NNX08AI11G, NNX13AH66G, and 80NSSC18K0223 supported the work at the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Washington University in St. Louis. The work at Goddard Space Flight Center was funded by NASA through the ACE project.

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August 22, 2023
October 24, 2023