Astrochemistry: October 2016

Many atmospheres (cool stars, brown dwarfs, giant planets, extrasolar planets) are predominately composed of molecular hydrogen and helium.

Chemistry plays an important role in the interstellar medium (ISM), regulating heating and cooling of the gas, and determining abundances of molecular species that trace gas properties in observations.

The UV environment is a key boundary condition for the origin of life. However, considerable uncertainty exists as to planetary conditions and hence surface UV at abiogenesis.

The processes that govern the evolution of dust and water (in the form of vapor or ice) in protoplanetary disks are intimately connected. We have developed a model that simulates dust coagulation, dust dynamics (settling, turbulent mixing), vapor diffusion, and condensation/sublimation of volatiles onto grains in a vertical column of a protoplanetary disk.

Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it's all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements.

Astronomers have discovered a 'hot molecular core,' a cocoon of molecules surrounding a newborn massive star, for the first time outside our galaxy.