Kevin McKeegan and team measure oxygen isotopic composition of the sun

Posted on June 24, 2011

This week's issue of Science features a cover image and article by Professor Kevin McKeegan and colleagues entitled: "The Oxygen Isotopic Composition of the Sun Inferred from Captured Solar Wind". The paper describes challenging measurements on particles returned to Earth (via very rough landing) from the Genesis Mission, and made using the ESS MegaSims instrument designed chiefly for this purpose. The work shows that the sun is enriched in 16O, and provides new insight into the mixing processes that occurred during formation of planets and other bodies in the solar nebula. The team also includes current ESSers Researcher Veronica Heber, Specialist George Jarzebinski, as well as past departmental denizens Peter Mao, Chis Coath, and Tak Kunihiro.