Shock processing of interstellar nitrogen compounds in the solar nebula

M. E. Kress, Steven Desch, C. E. Dateo, G. Benedix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Some organic material in chondrites (primitive meteorites) exhibits a very low 14N/ 15N, suggesting that the compounds that carry this heavy nitrogen signature formed in the interstellar medium. Other organic components of the same chondrites show a more solar isotopic signature, suggesting they derive from an isotopically solar reservoir of nitrogen such as N 2 or NH 3 in the solar nebula. In this work, we model the chemistry of the shocks that have been hypothesized as the mechanism to melt chondrules. We find that such shocks (≈ 8 km/s) do not produce significant amounts of HCN and CN if all nitrogen is initially locked in N 2 and all carbon is locked in CO. Only when NH 3 or CH 4 (or both) were present in the initial pre-shock nebula gas do CN and HCN form. We also find that C 2H 2 (acetylene) and C 2H form in low abundances if the carbon is all locked in CO in the pre-shock gas. The presence of CH 4 facilitates the formation of acetylene and related compounds. In the absence of CH 4 or NH 3, only negligible amounts of species containing CΞC or CΞN bonds form. Acetylene and cyanide-related compounds may be precursors to the organics that condensed into meteorites about 4.5 billion years ago. We find that CN bonds largely survive these shocks; thus, the very low interstellar 14N/ 15N signature can be preserved if the 15N is carried by CΞN-bearing interstellar compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1473-1480
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

nitrogen compounds
Nitrogen compounds
solar nebula
nitrogen compound
acetylene
Acetylene
Meteorites
shock
Nitrogen
chondrite
meteorite
nitrogen
Bearings (structural)
Processing
chondrites
signatures
meteorites
methylidyne
Carbon
chondrule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Shock processing of interstellar nitrogen compounds in the solar nebula. / Kress, M. E.; Desch, Steven; Dateo, C. E.; Benedix, G.

In: Advances in Space Research, Vol. 30, No. 6, 09.2002, p. 1473-1480.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kress, M. E. ; Desch, Steven ; Dateo, C. E. ; Benedix, G. / Shock processing of interstellar nitrogen compounds in the solar nebula. In: Advances in Space Research. 2002 ; Vol. 30, No. 6. pp. 1473-1480.
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