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Phys Rev Lett. 2019 Aug 16;123(7):072701. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.072701.

Interstellar ^{60}Fe in Antarctica.

Author information

1
Physik-Department, Technische Universität München, 85748 Garching, Germany.
2
Excellence Cluster Universe, 85748 Garching, Germany.
3
Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany.
4
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, 01328 Dresden, Germany.
5
Atominstitut, TU Wien, 1020 Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Earth is constantly bombarded with extraterrestrial dust containing invaluable information about extraterrestrial processes, such as structure formation by stellar explosions or nucleosynthesis, which could be traced back by long-lived radionuclides. Here, we report the very first detection of a recent ^{60}Fe influx onto Earth by analyzing 500 kg of snow from Antarctica by accelerator mass spectrometry. By the measurement of the cosmogenically produced radionuclide ^{53}Mn, an atomic ratio of ^{60}Fe/^{53}Mn=0.017 was found, significantly above cosmogenic production. After elimination of possible terrestrial sources, such as global fallout, the excess of ^{60}Fe could only be attributed to interstellar ^{60}Fe which might originate from the solar neighborhood.

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