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HEAO 3 discovery of Al-26 in the interstellar medium
Mahoney, W. A.; Ling, J. C.; Wheaton, W. A.; Jacobson, A. S.
AA(California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA), AB(California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA), AC(California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA), AD(California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 286, Nov. 15, 1984, p. 578-585. NASA-supported research. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Abundance, Aluminum 26, Gamma Ray Spectrometers, Heao 3, Interstellar Matter, Nuclear Fusion, Galactic Radiation, Spatial Distribution
Bibliographic Code:


A new analysis technique was used with HEAO 3 satellite gamma ray data to quantify the galactic 1809 keV emission. A method of bins was applied in summing for specific scan directions, followed by fitting the source and background components. The 1809 keV line of Al-26 was significant because of the recent discovery that Al-26 was overabundant in meteoritic material and implanted during solar system formation. The HEAO 3 flux indicated a current decay of 3 solar masses of Al-26 per year in the interstellar medium, possibly occurring in red giants and massive main sequence stars. The ratio of the observed Al-26 to the Al-27 flux was similar to that measured in meteorites, which suggests that the ratio is normal for the galactic medium and that no supernova triggered the protosolar nebular collapse.

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