Washington, D.C. Astronomers detected unusually high quantities of carbon, the basis of all terrestrial life, in an infant solar system around nearby star Beta Pictoris, 63 light-years away. "For years we’ve looked to this early forming solar system as one that might be going through the same processes our own solar system did when the rocky planets, including Earth, were forming," commented lead author Aki Roberge,* who began the research while at Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. "But we got a big surprise--there is much more carbon gas than we expected. Something very different is going on." The research, published in the June 8, 2006, Nature, suggests that either carbon-rich asteroids or comets, unlike any in our own solar system, have vaporized, or that bodies outgassing carbon-bearing species such as methane contribute the curious carbon excess.
Dusty, gaseous disks around stars are the birthplaces of planetary systems. Carnegie researcher Alycia Weinberger, co-author of the study, explains: "Since we can’t observe our own solar system as it was 4.5 billion years ago, we look at young stars to learn about the evolution of planet-forming disks. Ultimately, we want to understand the environments and processes around other stars that lead to the rise of life."
The new research was made possible by FUSE--NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer--and data from the Hubble Space Telescope’s imaging spectrograph. Beta Pictoris is almost twice the mass of our Sun and between 8 and 20 million years old. Previous studies indicated that the gas around the star had a composition of elements very similar to that in our own solar system. The new measurements mark the "most complete inventory of gas in any debris disk," and may radically change the picture.
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22.05.2017 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan
22.05.2017 | City College of New York
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
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22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy