Printer Friendly

The making of interstellar grit.

The making of interstellar grit

A common kind of sandpaper grit -- silicon carbide -- also serves as the primary kind of carbon particle that forms in the average red giant star, according to a group of scientists. In previous laboratory experiments, says Michael Frenklach of Pennsylvania State University Park, "everyone else proposed that the nucleation of interstellar grains occurs at temperatures around 1,000 kelvins. We are proposing the nucleation [of silicon carbide] begins at much higher temperatures--2,000 kelvins and above."

Frenklach and his colleagues report in the May 18 NATURE that their experiments are the first to take into account the high concentrations of hydrogen surrounding red giant stars. The group determined that hydrogen suppresses production of carbonaceous material like soot or graphite, but not of silicon carbide. This, combined with the abundance of silicon and carbon in the universe, "makes it more likely that silicon carbide is probably the first particle to condense." The scientists say they believe these grains condense at the high temperatures near the star, while other materials form farther out in the stellar atmosphere, where temperatures are low.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 3, 1989
Words:184
Previous Article:For how long did the Martian waters run?
Next Article:A bright idea for funneling sunlight.
Topics:


Related Articles
The gloomy fate of interstellar dust.
HACing out a dusty light source.
Probing a dusty theory of star formation.
Heavy elements found in interstellar gas.
An interstellar tale writ in space dust.
Cometary ices may have interstellar origin.
Sanding rules to live by.
THE WATER'S FINE, BUT REST OF THE STORY'S ALL WET.
Space invaders: the stuff of life has far-flung origins.
Baked grits and cornmeal.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters