Astronomers Discover Complex Organic Matter Exists Throughout the Universe


Angstrom
#1
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2011) — Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life but can be made naturally by stars.

Prof. Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of The University of Hong Kong show that an organic substance commonly found throughout the Universe contains a mixture of aromatic (ring-like) and aliphatic (chain-like) components. The compounds are so complex that 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. The team's discovery suggests that complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present.

The researchers investigated an unsolved phenomenon: a set of infrared emissions detected in stars, interstellar space, and galaxies. These spectral signatures are known as "Unidentified Infrared Emission features." For over two decades, the most commonly accepted theory on the origin of these signatures has been that they come from simple organic molecules made of carbon and hydrogen atoms, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. From observations taken by the Infrared Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope, Kwok and Zhang showed that the astronomical spectra have features that cannot be explained by PAH molecules. Instead, the team proposes that the substances generating these infrared emissions have chemical structures that are much more complex. 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.

Not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars. The work supports an earlier idea proposed by Kwok that old stars are molecular factories capable of manufacturing organic compounds. "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 life on Earth remains an open question.

Prof. Sun Kwok is the Dean of Science and Chair Professor of Physics of the University of Hong Kong. He serves as Vice President of Division VI (interstellar matter) of the International Astronomical Union, and is the incoming Vice President of Commission 51 (bioastronomy) of the International Astronomical Union. He has published many books, including the recent book "Organic Matter in the Universe" (Wiley, 2011). Dr. Yong Zhang is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. This work was supported by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.



A spectrum from the Infrared Space Observatory superimposed on an image of the Orion Nebula where these complex organics are found. (Credit: Image courtesy of The University of Hong Kong / Background: Hubble image courtesy of NASA, C.R. O'Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University))
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Astronomers discover complex organic matter exists throughout the universe


I've always believed that we are inside a living creature, so big that our Galaxy is only a atom in it.
This discovery proves nothing of my beliefs but still struck me as rather encouraging to my Theory.
 
Cliffy
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by Angstrom View Post

I've always believed that we are inside a living creature, so big that our Galaxy is only a atom in it.
This discovery proves nothing of my beliefs but still struck me as rather encouraging to my Theory.

The Universe is a living organism, just like our Earth.
 
Angstrom
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

The Universe is a living organism, just like our Earth.

I'm thinking earth is a part of atom inside a cell of a living creature

I'm starting to flirt with the idea that we are all individual universes that have life forms within at a much smaller scale then us.

And the same to the infinitely big and to the infinitely small.

In other words the living thing we are inside is also inside of a much bigger living thing.

Like Russian doll's


Russian Dolls
 
Cliffy
#4
As above, so below.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#5
The old idea that you needed a planet in a narrow belt, that wasn't too hot, or too cold to have life is over. You may not get complex life, but now the possibilities are much wider. Which is why Canada needs a space program to make a Moon base and become a serious spacefaring country. There's water on the Moon, and helium-3, which will allow us to go very far.

I met a man the other day who did not know there was ice on the Moon.
 
darkbeaver
#6
Richard Dawkins and his clique of professional skeptics will be on this anon. Saint Darwin and the holy evolution will be defended. That same fusion manufactures oil and water right here on this planet.

"Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life but can be made naturally by stars."

The writer seems to suggest that, normally organic compounds are not naturally produced. It escapes him that nothing unnatural can exist in nature.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#7
Like Dawkins et al don't know this. They suggest that because life was discovered in extreme areas on Earth, like volcanic vents under the ocean and Antarctica, there are now more possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe under extreme conditions. Hey, UFOs and ETs are going to kidnap the bad people and take you to area 52.
 
Tonington
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver View Post


The writer seems to suggest that, normally organic compounds are not naturally produced. It escapes him that nothing unnatural can exist in nature.

You've read it incorrectly. The writer is suggesting that most complex organic molecules are created biologically. Biology or astrophysics, both are natural...
 
dumpthemonarchy
#9
Scientists say energy, water and carbon or some other chemicals can create life. They talk of a process that planets go through as solar systems are made. With billions of galaxies out there, it's likely there is life out there we can conquer and enslave-er sorry, come in peace and communicate with their leaders for mutual advantage.
 

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