Stars Forming Complex Organic Compounds

The Antennae Galaxies / *

“A very interesting study has just been released indicating that stars are producing organic compounds which “are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the make up of coal and petroleum.”

“Nature is much more clever than we had imagined.”

“Contrary to the lies, the universe is inherently creative.”

Stars Forming Complex Organic Compounds

by Benjamin Deniston
October 28, 2011

A very interesting study has just been released indicating that stars are producing organic compounds which “are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the make up of coal and petroleum.”

Sun Kwok of the University of Hong Kong led the study, published in Nature Magazine (pay access only: Mixed aromatic–aliphatic organic nanoparticles as carriers of unidentified infrared emission features), and it has been covered in a number of news sources. The article, Discovery: Cosmic Dust Contains Organic Matter from Stars, does a fine job covering the basics, so I’ll leave it to you to read their article for the details, and just pull out a few quotes to discuss here.

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong observed stars at different evolutionary phases and found that they are able to produce complex organic compounds and eject them into space, filling the regions between stars. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the makeup of coal and petroleum, the study’s lead author Sun Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, said.

Such chemical complexity was thought to arise only from living organisms, but the results of the new study show that these organic compounds can be created in space even when no life forms are present. In fact, such complex organics could be produced naturally by stars, and at an extremely rapid pace.

“What impressed me most is that complex organics are easily formed by stars, they are everywhere in our own galaxy and in other galaxies,” Kwok told in an email interview. “Nature is much more clever than we had imagined.”

They then note where in the current theory of stellar evolution the production occurs,

The researchers observed stars at different phases of stellar evolution — first low- to medium-mass stars, then stars in the protoplanetary nebula phase, which is a short-lived episode during a star’s rapid evolution, and finally stars in the planetary nebula phase, which is characterized by an expanding shell of ionized gas that is ejected by certain types of stars late in their life.

Kwok and his colleague found that characteristics of the [complex organic matter] could not be detected in low- to medium-mass stars. But, the astronomers found that the emissions began to appear in stars in the protoplanetary nebula stage and grew stronger as the stars matured into the planetary nebula phase.

“We therefore know that these organics are being made in the circumstellar stellar environment,” Kwok said.

Note that the terms “protoplanetary nebula” and “planetary nebula” might be misleading, as they do not refer to the early stages of formation of planets around a young stellar system (as the names might seem to suggest), but refer to an expanding cloud of gas and dust energized by a central star, which is thought to be the “dying” phase of small and medium sized stars, i.e. stars that are too small to go nova or supernova — all according to the current standard theory. (There are certain reasons to question the standard theory of stellar evolution, but some of that will have to wait for another post)

The article goes on to say that they even find these complex organic structures produced in stellar “explosions” as well,

The researchers also studied emissions from exploding stars and found that these dynamic cosmic events produced dust even more rapidly.

“Their spectra changed from a pure gas spectrum to a dust spectrum on a matter of days or weeks,” Kwok said. “The sudden appearance of the features suggests that organic dust can be made extremely quickly.”

The authors of the study make the point that the spectral evidence for these complex organic structures permeates our galaxy and beyond, raising the question, though admitting they don’t yet have the answer, if such forms of organic matter played a role in the development of life on the Earth?

Then, putting a nice emphasis on an unintended point, the author states,

But, the findings throw a wrench into existing theories that posit that stars cannot produce such complex organic compounds in the near-vacuum environment of space.

“Theoretically, it is very difficult to understand because of the very low density of the circumstellar environment,” Kwok said. “But, observationally, there is no doubt as we see these spectral features appearing and changing on very short time scales. This means that these organic solids are condensing directly from the gas phase.”

Studies of astrophysics and what is presented as cosmology today are deeply bound by the delusion of the lie of the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, evidence of systems of the universe developing into higher states of organization and more advanced forms comes to the community as a surprise, as if from the outside, from beyond the inherently-entropic mathematical framework which they falsely imagine contains the universe.

Contrary to the lies, the universe is inherently creative.


Related article:

* Image reference:
The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) are a pair of distorted colliding spiral galaxies about 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Corvus (The Crow). This view combines ALMA observations, made in two different wavelength ranges during the observatory’s early testing phase, with visible-light observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble image is the sharpest view of this object ever taken and serves as the ultimate benchmark in terms of resolution. ALMA observes at much longer wavelengths which makes it much harder to obtain comparably sharp images. However, when the full ALMA array is completed its vision will be up to ten times sharper than Hubble.

Most of the ALMA test observations used to create this image were made using only twelve antennas working together — fewer than will be used for the first science observations — and much closer together as well. Both of these factors make the new image just a taster of what is to come. As the observatory grows, the sharpness, efficiency, and quality of its observations will increase dramatically as more antennas become available and the array grows in size. This is nevertheless the best submillimeter-wavelength image ever taken of the Antennae Galaxies and opens a new window on the submillimeter Universe.


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The publishing of this image does not imply that the author endorse this article.

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