Technetium star

A technetium star, or more properly a Tc-rich star, is a star whose stellar spectrum contains absorption lines of the light radioactive metal technetium. The most stable isotope of technetium is 98Tc with a half-life of 4.2 million years, which is too short a time to allow the metal to be material from before the star's formation. Therefore, the detection in 1952 of technetium in stellar spectra provided unambiguous proof of nucleosynthesis in stars,[1] one of the more extreme cases being R Geminorum.[1]

Stars containing technetium belong to the class of asymptotic giant branch stars (AGB)—stars that are like red giants, but with a slightly higher luminosity, and which burn hydrogen in an inner shell. Members of this class of stars switch to helium shell burning with an interval of some 100,000 years, in "dredge-ups". Technetium stars belong to the classes M, MS, S, SC and C-N. They are most often variable stars of the long period variable types.

Current research indicate that the presence of technetium in AGB stars occurs after some evolution, and that a significant number of these stars do not exhibit the metal in their spectra.[2] The presence of technetium seems to be related to the "third dredge-up" in the history of the stars.

See also

  • Barium star – Spectral class G to K giants, whose spectra indicate an overabundance of s-process elements by the presence of singly ionized barium
  • Carbon star – Star whose atmosphere contains more carbon than oxygen
  • Mercury-manganese star – Type of star with a prominent spectral line due to absorption from ionized mercury
  • S-type star – A cool giant with approximately equal quantities of carbon and oxygen in its atmosphere


  1. ^ a b S. Paul W. Merrill (1952). "Spectroscopic Observations of Stars of Class S". The Astrophysical Journal. 116: 21. Bibcode:1952ApJ...116...21M. doi:10.1086/145589.
  2. ^ T. Lebzelter & J. Hron. (2003). "Technetium and the third dredge up in AGB stars. I. Field stars". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 411 (3): 533–542. arXiv:astro-ph/0310018v1. Bibcode:2003A&A...411..533L. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20031458.

External links

Carbon star

A carbon star is typically an asymptotic giant branch star, a luminous red giant, whose atmosphere contains more carbon than oxygen. The two elements combine in the upper layers of the star, forming carbon monoxide, which consumes all the oxygen in the atmosphere, leaving carbon atoms free to form other carbon compounds, giving the star a "sooty" atmosphere and a strikingly ruby red appearance. There are also some dwarf and supergiant carbon stars, with the more common giant stars sometimes being called classical carbon stars to distinguish them.

In most stars (such as the Sun), the atmosphere is richer in oxygen than carbon. Ordinary stars not exhibiting the characteristics of carbon stars but cool enough to form carbon monoxide are therefore called oxygen-rich stars.

Carbon stars have quite distinctive spectral characteristics, and they were first recognized by their spectra by Angelo Secchi in the 1860s, a pioneering time in astronomical spectroscopy.

List of stars in Cancer

This is the list of notable stars in the constellation Cancer. The 121 stars are sorted by decreasing brightness, beginning with Beta Cancri, the brightest star in Cancer.

List of stars in Gemini

This is the list of notable stars in the constellation Gemini, sorted by decreasing brightness.

Outline of astronomy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:

Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).

R Geminorum

R Geminorum (R Gem) is a Mira variable and technetium star in the constellation Gemini. When at maximum light its apparent visual magnitude usually is between 6 and 7, while at minimum light it is typically near magnitude 14. It is located approximately 575 parsecs (1,880 ly) away.It is one of the brightest known examples of an S-type star, a type that is similar to M-type star, but whose spectra shows zirconium oxide, yttrium oxide and technetium. These exotic elements are formed in the star's core. Technetium has a half-life of just 4.2 million years, so it must have been brought up from the core relatively recently. R Gem has an unusual amount of it, even for an S-type star.

Star systems
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