(Roughly) Daily

Water, water everywhere…

From The Physics ArXiv Blog:

Water is the most abundant solid material in space. Astronomers see it on various planets, on moons, in comets and in interstellar clouds. But how did it get there? Nobody really knows how water could possibly form in the freezing darkness of interstellar space.

At least they didn’t until now. Today, Akira Kouchi and buddies at the Institute of Low Temperature Science at Hokkaido University in Japan say that have created water for the first in conditions similar to those found in interstellar space.

Water forms quite easily when oxygen and atomic hydrogen meet. The problem is that there is not enough of it floating around as gas in interstellar dust clouds. So instead, the thinking is that water must form when atomic hydrogen interacts with frozen solid oxygen on the surface of dust grains in these clouds.

Kouchi and co recreated this process by creating a layer of solid oxygen on an aluminum substrate at 10K and then bombarding it with hydrogen. Sure enough, infrared spectroscopy confirmed the presence of water and hydrogen peroxide, and in the right quantities to explain the abundance of water seen in interstellar clouds.

Lest we wonder at the relevance of this, we might note that this means that all of the water that fills our oceans and that we drink was created this way in an interstellar dust cloud that pre-dates the sun…


Paper at: http://arxiv.org/abs/0805.0055v1

As we rinse, we might slip sly birthday greetings to two masters of subversion, Surrealist Salvador Dali (1904) and social critic/comic Mort Sahl (1927).

The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.
– Salvador Dali

Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.
– Mort Sahl

DaliMort Sahl:



Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 11, 2008 at 2:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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