A young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud has formed a hot molecular core where interesting chemistry is just beginning.
The Nitro Project
Our atmosphere is very different from that of planets such as Venus and Mars. What makes our atmosphere so special?
The Gilded Age
The collision of neutron stars causes a galaxy to enter a gilded age.
What Are Tholins?
Tholins are a broad class of complex organic molecules. They are typically formed when ultraviolet light strikes simple organic molecules such as methane.
There are buckyballs in space.
This week in Nature it was announced that complex organic molecules were observed in a young planetary system.
Much of the modeling of astrophysical systems focuses on dynamical behavior. That is, how stars, planets and interstellar clouds move under the forces of gravity. While such dynamical modelling can prove useful for studying the motion of galaxies, they are not quite as good at modeling the evolution of galaxies. That’s because galaxies evolve over time not only due to the motion of stars within them, but they also evolve chemically as old stars die and new stars form. The chemical makeup of new stars depends where and when they form.
One of the exciting aspects of astrophysics (and any area of science really) is how odd discoveries lead to new understanding. As a case in point, consider our understanding of the gas and dust in our galaxy. Gas and dust is often seen as an annoyance because it gets in our way. Observational astronomy would be much easier if it weren’t for all the gas and dust. Sure, gas clouds will sometimes collapse to form new stars, but beyond that it surely wasn’t doing anything interesting.
If you live in the United States, you will likely take in an evening of fireworks. While you are enjoying them safely, you’ll notice that fireworks come in a variety of colors. The different colors are due to various metallic salts that are used in the fireworks. For example, reds can be created with strontium or lithium salts, orange with calcium, green with barium, blue with copper, and so on. A wide variety of colors can be produced by mixing these compounds as well.
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