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Astrochemistry: July 2014


Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Finger Silicon-Capped Hydrocarbons as Possible Source of Mysterious "Diffuse Interstellar Bands"

A team of astronomers has made the most precise measurements yet of water vapour in the atmospheres of Jupiter-like planets beyond our Solar System and found them to be much drier worlds than expected.

The core accretion theory for giant planet formation predicts enrichment of elemental abundances in planetary envelopes caused by runaway accretion of planetesimals, which is consistent with measured super-solar abundances of C, N, P, S, Xe, and Ar in Jupiter's atmosphere.

We report near-infrared spectroscopy of the gas giant planet HD 189733b in transit. We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (HST WFC3) with its G141 grism covering 1.1 um to 1.7 um and spatially scanned the image across the detector at 2\arcsecsāˆ’1.

Fullerenes are a particularly stable class of carbon molecules in the shape of a hollow sphere or ellipsoid that might be formed in the outflows of carbon stars. Once injected into the interstellar medium (ISM), these stable species survive and are thus likely to be widespread in the Galaxy where they contribute to interstellar extinction, heating processes, and complex chemical reactions.

Current gas phase models do not account for the abundances of HNCO isomers detected in various environments, suggesting a formation in icy grain mantles.

In 2011, hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) was observed for the first time outside the solar system (Bergman et al., A&A, 2011, 531, L8).