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Organic Matter in the Universe

Organic Matter in the Universe

Sun Kwok

ISBN: 978-3-527-41119-1

Dec 2011

277 pages



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.

1. History and introduction
2. The chemistry of organic matter
2.1 families of organic molecules
2.2 different forms of carbon
2.3 chains and rings
2.4 molecules of biological significance
3. Techniques of detecting organic molecules in space
3.1 Electronic structure of molecules
3.2 Rotational transitions
3.3 Vibrational transitions
3.4 Electronic transitions
3.5 Nuclear spin and hyperfine lines
3.6 Radical and molecular ions
3.7 Ground-based observations and spectroscopic observations from space
4. Organic molecules in the diffuse interstellar medium
5. Organic compounds in galaxies
6. Synthesis of organic compounds in the late stages of stellar evolution
6.1 nucleosynthesis of carbon
6.2 stellar winds and the late stages of stellar evolution
6.3 synthesis of gas-phase molecules and the condensation of solids
6.4 physical conditions of the stellar wind and chemical pathways of synthesis
6.5 emergence of aliphatic and aromatic compounds and their ejection into the interstellar medium
7. Organic compounds in the Solar System
7.1 meteorites
7.2 interplanetary dust particles
7.3 comets
7.4 asteroids
7.5 planetary satellites
8. Organic compounds as carriers of unsolved astronomical phenomena
8.1 unidentified infrared emission features
8.2 diffuse interstellar bands
8.3 the 217 nm feature
8.4 extended red emission
8.5 the 21 and 30 micron emission features
9. Chemical structures of organic matter in space
9.1 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
9.2 hydrogenated amorphous carbon and carbon nanoparticles
9.3 quenched carbonaceous composites
9.4 kerogen and coal
9.5 tholin and HCN polymers
10. Laboratory simulations of molecular synthesis
10.1 Miller-Urey experiment
10.2 Ultraviolet photolysis of ices
11. Delivery of organic compounds in the early history of the Earth
11.1 isotopic signatures and the existence of presolar grains
11.2 crater records and the heavy bombardment phase in the early history of the Earth
12. Origin of life on Earth
12.1 endogenous and exogenous theories of origin of life
12.2 organic compounds and the first emergence of life
13. Outlook for the future
13.1 future astronomical facilities
13.2 future Solar System exploration missions
14. References
15. Glossary
16. Subject index
17. Object index

“An excellent monograph by a well-qualified authority.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 July 2012)