Isotope abundance ratios have an important role in astronomy and planetary sciences, providing insights into the origin and evolution of the Solar System, interstellar chemistry and stellar nucleosynthesis1,2. In contrast to deuterium/hydrogen ratios, carbon isotope ratios are found to be roughly constant (around 89) in the Solar System1,3, but do vary on galactic scales with a 12C/13C isotopologue ratio of around 68 in the current local interstellar medium4-6. In molecular clouds and protoplanetary disks, 12CO/13CO ratios can be altered by ice and gas partitioning7, low-temperature isotopic ion-exchange reactions8 and isotope-selective photodissociation9. Here we report observations of 13CO in the atmosphere of the young, accreting super-Jupiter TYC 8998-760-1 b, at a statistical significance of more than six sigma. Marginalizing over the planet's atmospheric temperature structure, chemical composition and spectral calibration uncertainties suggests a 12CO/13CO ratio of 31−10+17?(90% confidence), a substantial enrichment in 13C with respect to the terrestrial standard and the local interstellar value. As the current location of TYC 8998-760-1 b at greater than or equal to 160 astronomical units is far beyond the CO snowline, we postulate that it accreted a substantial fraction of its carbon from ices enriched in 13C through fractionation.
- Pub Date:
- July 2021
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Published in Nature, July 14, 2021. A short video presentation can be found on exoplanet-talks.org at https://exoplanet-talks.org/talk/377