Contributed Talk - Splinter SOFIA

Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 15:20   (H 3006)

Isotopic abundance patterns as witnesses of primordial nucleosynthesis, protostellar evolution, evaporating oceans, and life

Helmut Wiesemeyer
Max-Planck-Institut für Radiostronomie

Isotopic abundance ratios are powerful tools to trace cosmic history, from the big bang to animal life. They generally owe this quality to the lower vibrational ground state energy of molecules with isotopic substitutions, shifting the chemical equilibrium or, if non-equlibrium conditions apply, evolutionary time-scales. However, the modification of fractional abundances by astration and rapid isotopic exchange reactions often complicate the interpretation of data, regardless whether they are recorded by in-situ or remote spectroscopy. This contribution briefly summarizes common principles of isotope astrochemistry and demonstrates them with the analysis of far-infrared spectra of emissions from light-hydride and atomic fine-structure lines, obtained with SOFIA/GREAT in various environments, such as hot cores, protostellar envelopes, cometary comae, and the atmospheres of Earth and Jupiter.