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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Attoseconds break into atomic interior
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy