This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Stars concoct complex molecules

The chemical factories around young stars may give rise to far more complex molecules than previously thought.

alt text
Young stars eject massive amounts of material into the surrounding "interstellar medium"

Relatively complex, carbon-containing molecules have been found in comets and on planets before, thought to have been made elsewhere in our Solar System.

But "unidentified infrared emissions" seen from the cosmos, says a new report in Nature, may come from even larger molecules forged near young stars.

They say these "stellar organics" may have been delivered to the early Earth.

Much of the chemistry that happens elsewhere in the cosmos remains mysterious, leaving astronomers to guess how nature assembles molecules.

It has generally been assumed that fairly simple molecules could be assembled in the area around young stars, while more complex materials formed later, in cooler conditions.

Adding to the mystery, though, have been unidentified infrared emissions (UIE), emanating from a range of sources in our galaxy and beyond.

This infrared light must come from molecular vibrations - the waggling of one atom relative to another within molecules that absorb light of higher wavelengths from other sources. Light in the infrared is then emitted as the wagglings die out.

Like the strings of a piano, each molecular vibration has its own note, but the unidentified infrared emissions are a rich, dense "chord" of notes that makes the nature of the emitting molecules extremely difficult to unpick.

Read on

TAGGED: CHEMISTRY, SCIENCE, SPACE


RELATED CONTENT

Apoptosis and Signal Transduction

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

Proton-based transistor could let...

- - Physorg.com 14 Comments

Scientists Take First Step Towards...

- - 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.

Oxygen finally spotted in space

- - BBC News - Science and Environment 8 Comments

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 [in space].

Building Blocks of DNA Found in...

Charles Q. Choi - LiveScience 38 Comments

Hydrogen peroxide found in space

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

MORE BY JASON PALMER

'Extreme Universe' puzzle deepens

Jason Palmer - BBC News - Science &... 5 Comments

Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern...

Jason Palmer - BBC News 107 Comments

LHC reveals hints of 'new physics' in...

Jason Palmer - BBC News - Science &... 57 Comments

Researchers from the Large Hadron Collider have shown off results that may help explain why the Universe is made largely of matter, not antimatter.

'Quadruple rainbow' caught on film for...

Jason Palmer - BBC News - Science and... 19 Comments

Scientists have captured the first image of a "quaternary" rainbow - the fourth rainbow caused by the bending of light through water in the air.

UPDATED: Speed-of-light experiments...

Jason Palmer - BBC News - Science &... 62 Comments

Puzzling results from Cern, home of the LHC, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.

Protein flaws responsible for complex...

Jason Palmer - BBC News Science &... 19 Comments

Tiny structural errors in proteins may have been responsible for changes that sparked complex life, researchers say.

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment