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Organic Matter in the Universe

ISBN: 978-3-527-40986-0
277 pages
November 2011
Organic Matter in the Universe (3527409866) cover image
Authored by an experienced writer and a well-known researcher of stellar evolution, interstellar matter and spectroscopy, this unique treatise on the formation and observation of organic compounds in space includes a spectroscopy refresher, as well as links to geological findings and finishes with the outlook for future astronomical facilities and solar system exploration missions. A whole section on laboratory simulations includes the Miller-Urey experiment and the ultraviolet photolysis of ices.
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Preface XI

Abbreviations XV

Color Plates XIX

1 History and Introduction 1

1.1 Origin of Chemical Elements 2

1.2 Extraterrestrial Organics 6

2 The Chemistry of Organic Matter 11

2.1 Families of Organic Molecules 12

2.2 Different Forms of Carbon 12

2.2.1 Graphite 13

2.2.2 Diamond 13

2.2.3 Fullerenes 14

2.2.4 Nanotubes and Fullerene Onions 15

2.2.5 Carbynes 16

2.2.6 Amorphous Forms of Carbon 17

2.3 Molecules of Biological Significance 18

2.3.1 Carbohydrates 19

2.3.2 Lipids 19

2.3.3 Proteins 19

2.3.4 Nucleic Acids 20

2.4 Summary 22

3 Interstellar Molecules 23

3.1 Electronic, Vibrational, and Rotational Structures of Molecules 23

3.1.1 Electronic Transitions 24

3.1.2 Vibrational Transitions 25

3.1.3 Rotational Transitions 26

3.1.4 Effects of Electron and Nuclear Spins 28

3.2 Hydrocarbons 28

3.3 Alcohols 29

3.3.1 Methanol 29

3.3.2 Vinyl Alcohol 30

3.4 Carboxylic Acids 30

3.5 Aldehydes and Ketones 31

3.5.1 Formaldehyde 31

3.5.2 Cyanoformaldehyde 32

3.5.3 Acetaldehyde 32

3.5.4 Propynal, Propenal and Propanal 32

3.5.5 Ketene 32

3.5.6 Acetone 33

3.6 Ethers and Esters 34

3.7 Amines, Nitriles, and Nitrogen-ContainingMolecules 35

3.7.1 Ammonia 35

3.7.2 Hydrogen Cyanide 36

3.7.3 Methylenimine 37

3.7.4 Methylamine 38

3.7.5 Cyanamide 38

3.7.6 Formamide 39

3.7.7 Acetamide 40

3.7.8 Ketenimine 40

3.7.9 Amino Acetonitrile 40

3.8 Radicals 41

3.8.1 CH 41

3.8.2 CHC 41

3.8.3 The Methylene Radical 42

3.8.4 Methyl Radical 44

3.9 Carbon Chains 45

3.9.1 Carbynes 45

3.9.2 Carbon Chain Ions 47

3.9.3 Pure Carbon Chains 48

3.10 Acetylene Derivatives 50

3.11 Rings 52

3.11.1 Propynl 52

3.11.2 Cyclopropenylidene 53

3.11.3 Cyclopropenone 55

3.11.4 Ethylene Oxide and Propylene Oxide 55

3.12 Phosphorus Containing Molecules 56

3.12.1 PH 57

3.13 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons 58

3.14 Molecules Containing Trace Elements 59

3.14.1 Metal Hydrides 62

3.14.2 Halides and Cyanides 62

3.14.3 Calcium Carbide 62

3.15 Biomolecules 63

3.15.1 Amino Acids 63

3.15.2 Sugars 64

3.15.3 Nucleic Acids 65

3.16 Diamonds 66

3.17 Fullerenes 68

3.18 Spectroscopic Scans 70

3.18.1 Unidentified Lines 75

3.18.2 All-Sky Spectral Scans 75

3.19 Search for Large, Complex Molecules 76

3.20 Summary 78

4 Organic Molecules in the Interstellar Medium 79

4.1 Dark Clouds 79

4.2 High-Mass Star Formation Regions 81

4.2.1 Sagittarius B2 81

4.2.2 Orion Nebula 82

4.3 Reflection Nebulae 83

4.4 Diffuse Interstellar Medium 84

4.5 Cirrus Clouds 86

4.6 Summary 87

5 Organic Compounds in Galaxies 89

5.1 Aromatic Compounds in Galaxies 91

5.2 The Aliphatic Component 92

5.3 Other Organics 93

5.4 Summary 95

6 Synthesis of Organic Compounds in the Late Stages of Stellar Evolution 97

6.1 Molecular Synthesis in the Stellar Wind 97

6.2 Beyond the Asymptotic Giant Branch 103

6.3 Chemical Evolution 106

6.4 Enrichment of the Interstellar Medium 108

7 Organic Compounds in the Solar System 109

7.1 Techniques 110

7.2 The Sun 112

7.3 The Earth 112

7.4 Planets and Planetary Satellites 113

7.4.1 Planetary Atmospheres 113

7.4.2 Ices 115

7.4.3 Organic Solids 115

7.5 Meteorites 116

7.6 Meteoroids and Interplanetary Dust Particles 118

7.7 Comets 120

7.8 Asteroids 123

7.9 Trans-Neptunian Objects 123

7.10 Extrasolar Planets 124

7.11 Summary 125

8 Organic Compounds as Carriers of Unsolved Astronomical Phenomena 127

8.1 Unidentified Infrared Emission Features 127

8.2 Diffuse Interstellar Bands 130

8.3 The 217 nm Feature 134

8.4 Extended Red Emission 136

8.5 The 21 and 30 Micron Emission Features 137

9 Chemical Structures of Organic Matter in Space 143

9.1 Optical Properties and Colors of Solids 144

9.2 Carbon Chains and Rings 146

9.3 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon 146

9.4 Small Carbonaceous Molecules 148

9.5 Hydrogenated Amorphous Carbon 149

9.6 Soot and Carbon Nanoparticles 149

9.7 Quenched Carbonaceous Composites 152

9.8 Kerogen and Coal 153

9.9 Petroleum Fractions 154

9.10 Tholin and HCN Polymer 157

9.11 Biological Materials 160

9.12 Summary 163

10 Laboratory Simulations of Molecular Synthesis 165

10.1 Laboratory Simulation of Chemical Processes under Interstellar Conditions 166

10.2 Simulations of the Synthesis of Carbonaceous Nanoparticles in Space 168

10.3 Chemical Pathways of the Synthesis of Biomolecules 173

10.3.1 Synthesis of Amino Acids 174

10.3.2 Synthesis of Nucleic Acid Bases 174

10.3.3 Lipids 174

10.3.4 Synthesis of Sugars 175

10.3.5 The RNA World 175

11 Origin of Life on Earth 177

11.1 Design or Accident 178

11.2 Prebiotic Chemical Evolution: the Oparin–Haldane Hypothesis 178

11.3 Panspermia 179

11.4 Evidence for External Impacts in the Past 180

11.5 Impact-Origin of Life Hypothesis 181

11.6 Delivery of Organic Compounds in the Early History of the Earth 182

12 Lessons from the Past and Outlook for the Future 185

12.1 Our Journey in Search of Organic Matter in Space 185

12.2 The Origin and Evolution of Organic Matter in Space 188

12.3 The Future 189

Appendix A Glossary 191

Appendix B Astronomical Infrared and Submillimeter Spectroscopic Observational Facilities 197

B.1 Single-Dish Millimeter and Submillimeter Wave Telescopes 197

B.1.1 Arizona Radio Observatory 198

B.1.2 Nobeyama 45-m Telescope 198

B.1.3 Caltech Submillimeter Observatory 199

B.1.4 James–Clerk–Maxwell Telescope 199

B.1.5 IRAM 30-m Telescope 199

B.1.6 Green Bank Telescope 199

B.1.7 Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment 199

B.1.8 Atacama Pathfinder Experiment 199

B.2 Ground-Based Infrared Telescopes 200

B.2.1 United Kingdom Infrared Telescope 200

B.2.2 The NASA Infrared Telescope Facility 200

B.2.3 Keck Telescope 200

B.2.4 Gemini Telescopes 201

B.3 Space Infrared and Submillimeter Telescopes 201

B.3.1 Infrared Astronomical Satellite 201

B.3.2 Infrared Space Observatory 201

B.3.3 Infrared Telescope in Space 202

B.3.4 AKARI 202

B.3.5 SubmillimeterWave Astronomy Satellite 202

B.3.6 Odin 202

B.3.7 Spitzer Space Telescope 203

B.3.8 Herschel Space Telescope 203

B.4 Airborne Telescopes 203

B.4.1 Kuiper Airborne Observatory 203

B.4.2 SOFIA 204

B.5 Millimeter and Submillimeter Arrays 204

B.5.1 Nobeyama Millimeter-Wave Array 205

B.5.2 The Plateau de Bure Interferometer 205

B.5.3 Submillimeter Array 205

B.5.4 Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy 205

B.5.5 Atacama Large Millimeter Array 205

Appendix C Unit Conversions 207

References 211

Index 245

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Professor Kwok is the Dean of Science and Chair Professor of Physics of the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of established books and numerous papers. Professor Kwok?s area of research is stellar evolution and astrochemistry. His theory on the origin of planetary nebulae has influenced our understanding of the death of Sun-like stars. He has been guest observer on many space missions including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Infrared Space Observatory. Between 1994 and 2006, Professor Kwok served as the Principal Investigator for Canada?s submillimeter-wave satellite Odin which was successfully launched in 2001.
He has served in many national and international bodies, including as chairman of the International Astronomical Union Working Group on Planetary Nebulae (1994-2001), and Vice President, International Astronomical Union, Division VI (Interstellar Matter) (2009-present).
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“An excellent monograph by a well-qualified authority.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 July 2012)

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