NASA Spitzer Telescope learned to look for diamonds in space


27/02/2008

Diamonds - rare on Earth, but in space, their countless. Scientists from NASA Ames Research Center have decided to look for cosmic diamond with infrared sensors telescope Spitzer.

With the help of computer simulation experts have developed a search strategy diamond nanometer (one 1000000000-tion of a meter). This diamond in 25,000 times smaller than a grain of sand, so it is unlikely to be enough to create any piece of jewelry. But astronomers believe that these tiny particles will help to understand how carbon-rich molecules (the basis of life on Earth) appear and develop in space.

Back in the 1980s, researchers have seriously thought of the fact that in space, perhaps there is a myriad of diamonds, after a large number of nano-diamonds have been found in meteorites fell to Earth. Astronomers have found that 3 percent of all the carbon in meteorites is in the form of diamonds. And if meteorites - is a manifestation of cosmic dust, it is easy to calculate that only one gram of dust and gas clouds of space can contain up to 10,000 trillion (trillion - 10 to the 12th power) nano-diamonds.

Now that scientists have discovered infrared and electronic properties of diamond, it was possible to obtain a unique "fingerprint" of the properties that are unique to diamonds. Armed with computers, scientists have discovered that space diamonds shine brightly when exposed to infrared light range from 3.4 to 3.5 microns and 6 to 10 microns. And this range - well perceived telescope Spitzer.

Spitzer-infrared spectrometer and is able to break the infrared light into its component parts, allowing the researchers to see the light characteristic of each individual molecule. According to the researchers, the ideal place to search for cosmic diamond is located nearby hot stars.

Finding a place of cosmic diamond clusters, a new mystery: how they are formed in interstellar space?

Space diamonds are formed under very different conditions than on Earth. On Earth, diamonds are produced in the hot core of the planet at very high pressure. In space, the diamonds are the same in cold molecular clouds, where the pressure is millions of times less than the temperature drops below 240 degrees Celsius.

Here’s to these and other intriguing questions and researchers are hoping to get answers through the use of new infrared telescope opportunities Spitzer. Our news is the key informers, modern life. You are always aware of all the events of your country.

Original: Jpl.nasa.gov


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