Monday, November 05, 2007

Mysteries: Molecular Clouds

A scientist can learn a lot by looking at clouds. Stars like our Sun are born in giant molecular clouds of gas. Some of these clouds, like the Horsehead Nebula, are so thick that they block all light. Their vast stores of mostly hydrogen provide raw materiels for stars and planets. One mystery: Astronomers have no clue how the clouds formed!

The giant molecular clouds are mostly made of hydrogen. One triumph of Big Bang Theory is that it predicts the amount of light elements like hydrogen. Somehow the interstellar hydrogen condensed into protostellar clouds and eventually stars. The clouds are far too diffuse to collapse on their own without dissipating.

The Milky Way is surrounded by a spherical halo of "dark" mass. If this halo is composed of Black Holes, then many times these objects must collide with the galaxy's disk. They would crash into molecular clouds like bullets into cotton candy. Presence of Black Holes would cause portions of the clouds to collapse and form stars.

The Coalsack Nebula in the Southern Cross covers 7 x 5 degrees of sky. In aboriginal astronomy, it forms the head of an Emu in the sky.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting page, I'll come back to read more.

8:52 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Now was that spam or what?

5:33 PM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi Louise,
just seen your Rockets Away video @ Robot Guy's blog.
Pretty good, but for the next one you might get someone to hold a clipboard with the text in front of you. It's a a bit odd seen your eyes dart up and down

12:40 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Carl, Q9. Carl's posts on Quantum Diaries are very thoughtful. Q9, we are still working on those technical issues before we do a formal rollout. Am happy you like it.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Matti Pitk√§nen said...

Amazing how little we know. My own bet: visible matter condenses around macroscopically quantum coherent dark matter with large hbar. That particles have very large Compton length but normal mass would help considerably.

You have probably heard about anomalous lines and bands in visible and infrared assignable to molecular clouds. Extended Red Emission Lines (ERE) for instance. Would be nice if you would write a little posting about this.

Some links:

Interstellar Dust as Agent and Subject of Galactic Evolution,

Diffuse interstellar bands,

From the stars to the thought,

Uma P. Vihj(2004), Extended Red Emission,

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,

Did you read this:

Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities


There might be life in those dark clouds afterall. Like highly intelligent nanoparticles which have stripped all unnecessary matter. Email me to discuss:

7:58 AM  
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Hope this link works now.

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