Oxygen finally spotted in space
By - - BBC NEWS - SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT
Added: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 17:01:17 UTC
"Hidden" oxygen may be released from dust grains and ice in star-forming regions
One of astronomy's longest-running "missing persons" investigations has concluded: astronomers have found molecular oxygen in space.
While single atoms of oxygen have been found alone or incorporated into other molecules, the oxygen molecule - the one we breathe - had never been seen.
The Herschel space telescope spotted the molecules in a star-forming region in the constellation of Orion.
The find will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the cosmos, after hydrogen and helium. Its molecular form, with two atoms joined by a double bond, makes life on Earth possible - but this form had never definitively been seen in space.
A 2007 effort from the Swedish Odin telescope, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, claimed a discovery of oxygen in a nearby star-forming region, but the discovery could not be independently confirmed.
One possible location for the missing oxygen is locked onto dust grains and incorporated into water ice.
The team chose a star-forming region in the constellation Orion, believing that oxygen would be "baked off" from the ice and dust in a warmer, more turbulent part of space.
Instruments on the Herschel telescope, sensitive to infrared light, picked up small signatures of the elusive molecular oxygen.
"This explains where some of the oxygen might be hiding," said Paul Goldsmith, principal investigator on the Herschel Oxygen Project.
"But we didn't find large amounts of it, and still don't understand what is so special about the spots where we find it. The Universe still holds many secrets."
Drew Berry - YouTube - dprjones 15 Comments
An exploration of what a signal transduction would 'look like' if you were to follow the chain of molecular events along a pathway
- - Science Daily 22 Comments
Researchers led by Professor Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow have developed inorganic chemical cells (iCHELLs), which show redox activity, chirality, as well as selective permeability towards small molecules, and which can be nested within one another, potentially allowing stepwise reactions to occur in sequence within the cell.
CBC News - www.cbc.ca 33 Comments
The discovery is exciting for astronomers because water can be produced when hydrogen peroxide reacts with hydrogen under the right conditions.
MORE BY -
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
- - Top Documentary Films Comments
Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
- - URMC Comments
Newer Imaging Technique Brings ‘Glymphatic System’ to Light
- - human rights first Comments
Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments
WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August