Simulations of 60Fe entrained in ejecta from a near-Earth supernova: Effects of observer motion

Evgenii Chaikin, Alexander A. Kaurov, Brian D. Fields, Camila A. Correa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have shown that live (not decayed) radioactive 60Fe is present in deep-ocean samples, Antarctic snow, lunar regolith, and cosmic rays. 60Fe represents supernova (SN) ejecta deposited in the Solar system around 3 Myr ago, and recently an earlier pulse ≈7 Myr ago has been found. These data point to one or multiple near-Earth SN explosions that presumably participated in the formation of the Local Bubble. We explore this theory using 3D high-resolution smooth-particle hydrodynamical simulations of isolated SNe with ejecta tracers in a uniform interstellar medium (ISM). The simulation allows us to trace the SN ejecta in gas form and those eject in dust grains that are entrained with the gas. We consider two cases of diffused ejecta: when the ejecta are well-mixed in the shock and when they are not. In the latter case, we find that these ejecta remain far behind the forward shock, limiting the distance to which entrained ejecta can be delivered to ≈100 pc in an ISM with nH=0.1 cm-3 mean hydrogen density. We show that the intensity and the duration of 60Fe accretion depend on the ISM density and the trajectory of the Solar system. Furthermore, we show the possibility of reproducing the two observed peaks in 60Fe concentration with this model by assuming two linear trajectories for the Solar system with 30-km s-1 velocity. The fact that we can reproduce the two observed peaks further supports the theory that the 60Fe signal was originated from near-Earth SNe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-727
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Earth
  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: bubbles
  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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