Presolar Grains: Hands-on Astrophysics
Presolar grains condensed in the outflows of dying stars and were transported through the interstellar medium before being incorporated into meteorite parent bodies in the solar nebula 4.5 billion years ago. Analyzing the isotopic composition of these micrometer-sized grains allows us to directly probe the composition of their parent stars in the laboratory. Such studies elucidate stellar nucleosynthesis and galactic chemical evolution at high precision. This talk discusses the analytical methods and limitations of such measurements, give an overview of presolar grain studies that have allowed us to constrain, e.g., the slow neutron capture process, and present some of the latest results on studying rare nucleosynthesis processes that form proton- and neutron-rich isotopes. Finally, an outlook will is given on future measurements and their potential implications.