Complex Organic Matter Discovered Created by Stars Throughout the Universe
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February 29, 2012

Complex Organic Matter Discovered Created by Stars Throughout the Universe

 

                          Cosmic-dust-complex-organic-compounds

Physicists Freeman Dyson has said that it appears as though the Universe was anticipating our existence. A recent discovery seems to support his observation: In 2011, astronomers discovered that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe, suggesting that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life but can be made naturally by stars. The discovery suggests that complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present.

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 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 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."

The Daily Galaxy via University of Hong Kong

Dr. Yong Zhang is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Comments

I see Awesomeness happening~~~> "Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening."

Hmmmm. Either toss out theory or toss out observed reality - now there’s a debate.

This should reignite the debate of panspermia. Not alien sperm, but alien organic matter seeding Earth... A cool video on the subject http://www.scienceinseconds.com/episodes/Life-in-Space

Why isn't this bigger news?

isnt it possible that scince the dawn of life whenever the earth was hit by meteors and/or comets that it sent this organic material into outer space and it has since been distributed all over the galaxy, gotten trapped in stars and is now being released as the stars evolve rather than be created inside said stars.

anthony has a point. The article only says they found "Complex Organic Matter". The part about it being formed in stars is an assumption. And after that is a lot more assuming. But since I dont have a better theory I will consider he may be right. I am positive this theory will get lots of tweaking and tuning.

There are some theorys that claim every thing is made at the center of the galaxy (the black hole creates instead of swallows) and then is passed out to the outer edges of the galaxy and farther. This would make complex organic matter just another product made and shipped out to the universe.

I don't know, but this report seems remarkably lite. It begs so many questions.

Amongst which, surely the most important is HOW do stars make organic compounds? Just can't get my head round how and from what material dying stars suddenly start making coal and petroleum-like carbons, which appear to carry the signature of something once living.

It's sort of like saying that on the very rare occasions earthly crematoria blow up then the old soot from their chimneys gets turned into compounds that are ejected and then seed life!

Then there's the question of how do these scientists know that organic compounds are spread 'throughout the universe'?

Someone enlighten me, please?

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For me, this does not pose any question whatsoever.
Stars , by convention, were thought to be simple chemical hot pots. Narrow minded glug.

Stars are organic entities. And imagine the wisdom of a star which has lived for so much time. Do not take for granted day and night, hot and cold. We will come to see
that lifeforms of a star make us seem as a mold growing on bread. I feel planets only account for few percent of all life out there - there are forms which do not require a planets atmoshpere / chemical composition , to live.

Possibly the reason this theory that seems so right is not embraced is simply that it was not first out of the gate. I think stars are the source code if you will. And magnetism seems to be the way it is done. Magnetism and compression equal order which seems to mean life.

If Sol turns out to be a LOH magnetic density star, shedding its light magnetic field ever so slowly in periodic magnetic reversals, then the inner dense magnetic field should become slowly more apparent. What would be the signs of that? More and violent CME's, flares, sun quakes of greater magnitude.


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