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Do Aluminum Abundances Foil Our Theory of Galaxy Evolution?

20 Jul 2020, 16:33 UTC
Do Aluminum Abundances Foil Our Theory of Galaxy Evolution?
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Title: Distribution and kinematics of 26Al in the Galactic discAuthors: Yusuke Fujimoto, Mark R. Krumholz, Shu-ichiro InutsukaFirst Author’s Institution: Earth and Planets Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for ScienceStatus: Submitted to MNRAS [open access]Most people know that aluminum is very useful for cooking an excellent steak or holding your favorite soft drink. Remarkably, it can also help us trace past supernova explosions and star formation in a galaxy! One of the isotopes of aluminum, aluminum-26 (Al-26), is produced in the cores of massive stars through fusion. These atoms are then expelled into the interstellar medium via stellar winds and supernovae. Al-26 is also radioactive with a very short half-life, meaning that, wherever we find Al-26, star formation and supernovae must have recently happended.Today’s paper conducts a Milky Way-like galaxy simulation to study two mysteries that have emerged from recent observations of Al-26 in our own galaxy:

Al-26 has a scale height of nearly 800 parsecs above the galactic plane, almost an order of magnitude greater than the 50 parsec scale height of both stars and star-forming gas.
The mean rotation speed of Al-26 is 100-200 km/s greater than the rest of the galactic disk.
Given the importance of Al-26 ...

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