Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics

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Overview

Nuclear astrophysics is, in essence, a science that attempts to understand and explain the physical universe beyond the Earth by studying its smallest particles. Cauldrons in the Cosmos, by Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney, serves as a basic introduction to these endeavors. From the major discoveries in the field to a discussion of the makeup of stars to an explanation of standard lab techniques, this text provides students and scientists alike a thorough and fascinating survey of the accomplishments, goals, and methods of nuclear astrophysics. A classic in its field, Cauldrons in the Cosmos will surely remain an important reference in nuclear astrophysics for years to come.

"One could not wish for a better account of the current state of knowledge (and uncertainty) about nuclear reactions in stars."—B. E. J. Pagel, Nature

"Written in an informal style that those uninitiated into the jargon of nuclear astrophysics and astronomy will find readable and illuminating. . . . A useful and long-awaited introduction to nuclear astrophysics."—G. J. Mathews, Science

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226724577
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Series: Theoretical Astrophysics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 580
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Claus E. Rolfs is professor of physics at the University of Münster. William S. Rodney is the Adjunct Research Professor of Physics at Georgetown University and a Guggenheim fellow.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Preface xiii
1 Astronomy-Observing the Universe 1
1.1 Observational Techniques 3
1.1.1 Optical Astronomy 3
1.1.2 Radio Astronomy 7
1.1.3 Space Astronomy 10
1.2 Observed Structures in the Cosmos 12
1.2.1 The Solar System 13
1.2.2 Normal Stars and Clusters of Stars 15
1.2.3 Unusual Stars 19
1.2.3.1 Eclipsing Stars 19
1.2.3.2 Eruptive Stars 19
1.2.3.3 Pulsating Stars 22
1.2.3.4 Planetary Nebulae 25
1.2.3.5 X-Ray Stars 27
1.2.4 Our Galaxy-the Milky Way 28
1.2.5 Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies 31
1.2.6 Radio Galaxies and Quasars 37
1.2.7 The Universe 41
1.3 Selected General Properties of the Universe 41
1.3.1 Observed Abundances of the Elements 41
1.3.2 The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram 45
1.3.3 Mass-Luminosity Relation of Main-Sequence Stars 46
1.3.4 The Expansion of the Universe and Hubble's Law 48
1.3.5 The Universal Background Radiation 51
1.3.6 Quasars as Probes of the Distant Universe 53
2 Astrophysics-Explaining the Universe 55
2.1 Big-Bang Cosmology 56
2.1.1 Standard Cosmological Models 56
2.1.2 Basic Physics and Dynamics of the Standard Big-Bang Model 58
2.1.3 Evolution of the Early Universe 63
2.1.4 Versions of the Big-Bang Universe 67
2.1.5 The Beginning of the Standard Universe 69
2.1.6 Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry and the Origin of Baryons 71
2.1.7 The Inflationary Universe 77
2.2 Nucleosynthesis in the Early Universe 85
2.2.1 The Quest for Light-Element Creation 85
2.2.2 Ashes of the Primeval Big Bang 86
2.2.3 Implications of Primordial Nucleosynthesis 89
2.3 The Formation of Galaxies 91
2.4 Physical State of the Stellar Interior 92
2.4.1 Hydrostatic Equilibrium 93
2.4.2 Equation of State of Normal Stars 94
2.4.3 Effects of the Chemical Composition 96
2.4.4 Stored Energy of a Star 97
2.4.5 Thermal Equilibrium 99
2.4.6 Energy Transport Mechanisms 100
2.4.7 Magnitude of Stellar Luminosities 102
2.4.8 The Mass-Luminosity Relation and Stellar Lifetimes 103
2.4.9 Stellar Stability 103
2.4.10 Equation of State for Degenerate Matter 104
2.4.11 Theory of White Dwarfs 107
2.4.12 Neutron Stars 108
2.4.13 Black Holes 110
2.5 The Lives of the Stars 112
2.5.1 Birth of Stars in Interstellar Clouds 113
2.5.2 From Nebulae to the Main Sequence 115
2.5.3 Main-Sequence Stars 116
2.5.4 Endpoints of Stellar Evolution 117
2.6 The Origin of the Chemical Elements 121
2.7 Evolution of Binary Systems 123
2.7.1 Effects of Gravity on Stars in Contact 123
2.7.2 The Nova Phenomenon 125
2.7.3 X-Ray Stars 127
2.7.4 Supernovae of Type I 130
3 Definitions and General Characteristics of Thermonuclear Reactions 133
3.1 Source of Nuclear Energy 134
3.2 Cross Section 137
3.3 Stellar Reaction Rate 139
3.4 Mean Lifetime 141
3.5 Maxwell-Boltzmann Velocity Distribution 142
3.6 Inverse Reactions 144
3.7 Energy Production 149
4 Determination of Stellar Reaction Rates 150
4.1 Neutron-Induced Nonresonant Reactions 150
4.2 Charged-Particle-Induced Nonresonant Reactions 153
4.3 Reactions through Isolated and Narrow Resonances 169
4.4 Reactions through Broad Resonances 178
4.5 Subthreshold Resonances 185
4.6 Summary 188
5 Laboratory Equipment and Techniques in Nuclear Astrophysics 190
5.1 Ion Beams 191
5.1.1 Ion Sources and Beam Formation 192
5.1.1.1 Electron-Impact Ion Source 192
5.1.1.2 Arc-Discharge Ion Source 194
5.1.1.3 Duo-Plasmatron Ion Source 195
5.1.1.4 Penning Ion Source 196
5.1.1.5 RF Ion Source 197
5.1.1.6 Hollow-Cathode Ion Source 197
5.1.1.7 Sputter Ion Source 198
5.1.2 Accelerators 200
5.1.2.1 Van de Graaff Accelerator 201
5.1.2.2 Cockcroft-Walton Accelerator 204
5.1.2.3 Dynamitron Accelerator 206
5.1.2.4 Tandem Accelerator 206
5.1.2.5 Cyclotron 208
5.1.2.6 Linac 209
5.1.3 Beam Transport System 210
5.1.4 Analysis of Beam Properties 221
5.1.5 Beam Integration 226
5.2 Target Features and Target Chambers 231
5.2.1 Solid Targets 231
5.2.2 Gas Targets 242
5.3 Detectors 250
5.3.1 Detectors for Heavy Charged Particles 253
5.3.2 Neutron Detectors 260
5.3.3 Gamma-Ray Detectors 261
5.4 Detection Techniques 270
5.4.1 Electronics and Data Acquisition 270
5.4.2 Detection of Reaction Products 271
5.4.3 Activity Method 284
5.4.4 Time-of-Flight Techniques 287
5.5 Experimental Procedures and Data Reduction 289
5.5.1 Cross Section and Yield of Nuclear Reactions 289
5.5.2 Factors Affecting the Reaction Yield 292
5.5.3 Reaction Yield and Experimental Observation 295
5.5.4 Measurement of Excitation Functions 296
5.5.5 Measurement of Angular Distributions 301
5.5.6 Absolute Cross Section and Resonance Strength 302
5.6 Some Future Techniques 310
5.6.1 Detection of Recoil Nuclei in Capture Reactions 310
5.6.2 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 317
5.6.3 Radioactive Ion Beams 319
5.6.4 Storage Rings 324
6 Hydrogen Burning 327
6.1 The Proton-Proton Chain 328
6.1.1 Theoretical Cross Section for the p + p Reaction 328
6.1.2 Burning of Deuterium 338
6.1.3 Burning of [superscript 3]He and Completion of the p-p-I Chain 340
6.1.4 Stellar Fates of [superscript 7]Be 346
6.1.5 The Three p-p Chains 352
6.1.6 Laboratory Approach to p-p Chain Reactions 356
6.1.6.1 The d(p, [gamma])[superscript 3] He Reaction 356
6.1.6.2 The [superscript 3]He([superscript 3]He, 2p)[superscript 4]He Reaction 358
6.1.6.3 The Capture Reaction [superscript 3]He([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 7]Be 360
6.1.6.4 Termination of the p-p Chains II and III 362
6.1.6.5 Processes Involving the Weak Force 364
6.2 The CNO Cycles 365
6.2.1 The CN Cycle 367
6.2.2 The CNO Bi-cycle 369
6.2.3 The Discovery of Additional Cycles 371
6.2.4 Consequences of the CNO Cycles 374
6.3 Other Cycles 375
6.3.1 The NeNa Cycle 376
6.3.2 The MgAl Cycle 379
6.3.3 Elemental Abundances 381
7 Helium Burning 384
7.1 The Detour around the Mass Stability Gaps, and the Creation of [superscript 12]C 387
7.2 The Survival of [superscript 12]C in Red Giants 395
7.2.1 Expected Properties of the [superscript 12]C([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 16]O Reaction 395
7.2.2 Measurements of the [superscript 12]C([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 16]O Reaction 401
7.2.3 Elemental Abundances 404
7.3 The Blocking of Quiescent Helium Burning 406
7.4 Other Helium-Burning Reactions 408
7.5 Perspectives on Helium-Burning Reactions 410
8 Advanced and Explosive Burning 413
8.1 Quiescent Heavy-Ion Burning 414
8.1.1 Absorption under the Barrier 418
8.1.2 Intermediate Structure in the Continuum 421
8.1.3 Gross Energy Dependence 422
8.2 Silicon Burning 423
8.2.1 The Photodisintegration Era 424
8.2.2 Photodisintegration in Silicon Burning 428
8.2.3 The Nuclear Physics of Silicon Burning 431
8.3 The Final Bursts of Nucleosynthesis in Massive Stars 436
8.3.1 The Inner Structure of a Presupernova Star 436
8.3.2 Theories of Supernovae of Type II 439
8.3.3 Explosive Nucleosynthesis 445
8.3.4 Nuclear Physics Aspects of Explosive Burning 448
9 Nucleosynthesis beyond Iron 449
9.1 The Quest for the Origin of the Trans-Iron Elements 449
9.2 Neutron-Capture Cross Sections 451
9.3 Basic Mechanisms for Nucleosynthesis beyond Iron 457
9.4 The s-Process 461
9.5 The r-Process 469
9.6 Nucleocosmochronology-the Age of the Chemical Elements 477
10 Miscellaneous Topics 490
10.1 The Case of the Missing Solar Neutrinos 490
10.1.1 The Quest 490
10.1.2 The Standard Solar Model 491
10.1.3 Detection of Solar Neutrinos 493
10.1.4 Suggested Solutions 496
10.2 Isotopic Anomalies and the Early History of the Solar System 498
10.2.1 The Homogeneous Isotopic Composition 498
10.2.2 The Discovery of Isotopic Anomalies 501
10.2.3 Oxygen Isotopic Anomalies 502
10.2.4 Magnesium and the Discovery of Extinct [superscript 26]Al 504
10.2.5 Neon and Extinct [superscript 22]Na 506
10.2.6 Conclusions 507
10.3 The Origin of the Light Elements Li, Be, and B 508
10.3.1 The Problem 508
10.3.2 Properties of Galactic Cosmic Rays 510
10.3.3 Production of Li, Be, and B via Spallation 512
Epilogue 515
Appendix Notation and Units 517
References 523
Index 551
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