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Astronomers discover complex organic matter in the universe | KurzweilAI - 1 views

    Organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the universe, Prof. Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of the University of Hong Kong have discovered, suggesting that complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present.
    The organic substance they found contains a mixture of aromatic (ring-like) and aliphatic (chain-like) components that are so complex, their chemical structures resemble those of coal and petroleum. Since coal and oil are remnants of ancient life, this type of organic matter was thought to arise only from living organisms.
    Unidentified radiation from the universe
    The researchers investigated an unsolved phenomenon: a set of infrared emissions detected in stars, interstellar space, and galaxies, known as "Unidentified Infrared Emission features." From observations taken by the Infrared Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope, Kwok and Zhang showed that the astronomical spectra have chemical structures that are much more complex that previously thought. By analyzing spectra of star dust formed in exploding stars called novae, they show that stars are making these complex organic compounds on extremely short time scales of weeks, and ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars.
    "Our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near-vacuum conditions," says Kwok. "Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening."
    Most interestingly, this organic star dust is similar in structure to complex organic compounds found in meteorites. Since meteorites are remnants of the early Solar System, the findings raise the possibility that stars enriched the early Solar System with organic compounds. The early Earth was subjected to severe bombardments by comets and asteroids, which potentially could have carried organic star dust. Whether these delivered organic compounds played any role in the development of l
thinkahol *

Hubble constant: A new way to measure the expansion of the universe - 0 views

    ScienceDaily (July 27, 2011) - Using a measurement of the clustering of the galaxies surveyed, plus other information derived from observations of the early universe, researchers have measured the Hubble constant with an uncertainly of less than 5 percent. The new work draws on data from a survey of more than 125,000 galaxies.
Walid Damouny

Primordial weirdness: Did the early universe have 1 dimension? - 1 views

    "( -- Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That's the mind-boggling concept at the heart of a theory that University at Buffalo physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues proposed in 2010."
thinkahol *

YouTube - The Known Universe by AMNH - 0 views

    The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum,  is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.     Data: Digital Universe, American Museum of Natural History    Visualization Software:  Uniview by SCISS    Director: Carter Emmart  Curator: Ben R. Oppenheimer  Producer: Michael Hoffman  Executive Producer: Ro Kinzler  Co-Executive Producer: Martin Brauen  Manager, Digital Universe Atlas: Brian Abbott    Music: Suke Cerulo    For more information visit
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