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Go to: The Molecule That Made the Universe

shawn.bishop's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by shawn.bishop

Comment 7 by Graxan :

What does this say for the fusion reaction which currently details the conversion of hydrogen into helium in stars? As traditionally we are shown that the reaction occurs between 2 Hydrogen isotopes (deuterium and tritium) whose atoms collide to produce energy and Helium-4 . Where does H3+ come into this?

The H3+ molecule would not enter as a consideration in the goings on of nuclear reactions in the core. In the core, the temperatures are far too high (mega kelvin) for any molecules to form. The cores of stars, where the nuclear processes occur are essentially a plasma state composed of a "sea" of free electrons and a "sea" of their corresponding nuclei, from which they have become dissociated as the result of the mega kelvin hot photon "bath" in the core.

Why this molecule could be important for the formation of a star is that it would allow a cool cloud of hydrogen gas to condense. Sounds contradictory, doesn't it, since a cold cloud would be expected to condense. However, from the Virial Theorem, a contracting cloud of gas must necessarily heat up: its increasing gravitational potential energy is converted into heat energy and work. If that cloud heats up too fast, then like any normal gas, it can subsequently expand and halt further contraction, and terminate star formation. The H3+ molecule, however, can absorb photons and/or scatter them at lower energies from the "heat" of the gas, converting their energy into work: the work associated with making the molecule vibrate, rotate and even dissociate (beak apart the H3 molecule into, say, H2+ H.), and reducing also the average energy of the photons making up the hot "bath" in the central part of the contracting cloud. The molecular vibrations/rotations themselves emit photons, but usually in the infrared energy range. These photons, having long wavelengths, escape from the molecular cloud with relative ease (compared to the high energy photons in the central region where it is hottest), thus carrying away with them some portion of the central heat engine, and thereby "cool" the system down.

Whether a star forms is then a matter of delicate balance between the heat in the core at any given time, and the rate at which that heat can escape from the cloud. If it escapes too slowly, then the ion gas in the cloud will expand, causing further contraction to stop (and no stars form). If it escapes faster than its production in the central part, then the system can continue to contract (and stars can form).

Hope this helps.

Tue, 17 Apr 2012 22:33:39 UTC | #935341

Go to: Alaska Airlines removing prayer cards from meal trays after 30 years as complaints increase

shawn.bishop's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by shawn.bishop

Chose Alaska Airlines, where we fly you on a wing and a prayer!

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 11:27:56 UTC | #911683

Go to: Christopher Hitchens obituaries

shawn.bishop's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by shawn.bishop

I had my breath knocked from my lungs on waking this morning to this news. I cannot muster sufficient words to express the feeling of emptiness that occupies me today. So I find myself seeking some solace in song. I would never presume to know the thoughts of the Hitch, but within my own imagination I am allowed to wonder if he would find the lyrics of this song (below) an appropriate eulogy for the humanists, atheists and skeptics in our ranks. The lyrics posses the stoicism for which the Hitch was renown.

For me, at least, the song has been helpful; particularly, the lines "Shout if you can speak, sing if you mention my name." These words bring a somber smile to my face when I imagine my past and future arguments in which I have used the very arguments of Hitch to "roast" an opponent from the other side of the divide.

A link to this song on youtube is thus: Don't Cry a Tear for Me (and I do hope the moderators will themselves, at the very least, view and hear this link, and consider the context in which I cite it, before any decision to edit it from this post)

Continue to carry the torch, ladies and gentlemen. And do not keep the faith.

Don't Cry a Tear for me

Go if you must go, Turn if you must turn away, Don't cry a tear for me,

Laugh if you can smile, Run if you're walking away, Don't cry a tear for me,

Shout if you can speak, Sing if you mention my name, Don't cry a tear for me,

Low in the valley, stand in the wind and the rain. High on the mountain, see the sun shining again

Shout if you can speak, Sing when you mention my name, Don't cry a tear for me.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 15:02:20 UTC | #899818

Go to: Christianity: a faith for the simple

shawn.bishop's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by shawn.bishop

The "Read On" link is empty. Administrator, please fix it.

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 09:34:25 UTC | #586584

Go to: Damian Aspinall's Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter

shawn.bishop's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by shawn.bishop


I can understand the principle behind your annoyance, but perhaps some caution is required in this case.

While the short video sequence does convey a little bit of what you're claiming, the appearance of the human "dissing" the gorilla may be more an artifact of heavy editing than of the reality "on the ground".

Surely the sum total of time he spent interacting with the gorillas was more than the 20'ish seconds presented in the video. It could well have been more than an hour or two of time between when we him feed the leaf to the gorilla and when we see him being hugged from behind by the gorilla. The "staccato"-like presentation of different scenes makes it very clear heavy editing of the original film-takes was done, and we can only guess at the interactions that took place in between all the editing cuts that were made for this promotional release.


Updated: Sun, 23 May 2010 08:59:19 UTC | #472676

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