Organic Matter in Space - an Overview

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 07/2008; DOI: 10.1017/S1743921308021078
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT Organic compounds are ubiquitous in space: they are found in diffuse clouds, in the envelopes of evolved stars, in dense star-forming regions, in protoplanetary disks, in comets, on the surfaces of minor planets, and in meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. This brief overview summarizes the observational evidence for the types of organics found in these regions, with emphasis on recent developments. The Stardust sample-return mission provides the first opportunity to study primitive cometary material with sophisticated equipment on Earth. Similarities and differences between the types of compounds in different regions are discussed in the context of the processes that can modify them. The importance of laboratory astrophysics is emphasized. Comment: Introductory overview lecture presented at IAU Symposium 251, "Organic matter in space", held at Hong Kong, February 2008; to appear in IAU Symposium 251 proceedings, Cambridge University Press, ed. S. Kwok et al

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    ABSTRACT: Laboratory experiments show that long-chain polyyne molecules are often components of the type of carbon nanoparticle (CNP) that can be associated with the infrared (IR) emission bands attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These molecules are attached to peripheral sites on PAH molecules and have in excess of six carbon atoms. IR spectra of CNPs containing a variety of sp-bonded carbon chains in conjunction with PAH groups are reported in this paper. We find that polyyne side-chains produce several notable spectral features in the 4.3 and 5.7 μm (2300-1750 cm–1) range, some of which may be present in interstellar emission. A deeper search for these features in absorption or emission in interstellar sources would indicate if polyyne chains are commonly attached to PAH emitters.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2009; 698(1):808. · 6.73 Impact Factor


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