Scientists: our universe is a quarter of the cosmic fat
Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and Ege University in Turkey studied the distribution of carbon in interstellar dust and made unusual conclusions. Carbon is the fourth most common chemical element in the universe, it is much smaller than the same hydrogen, and a quarter of its volume is a substance that is most easily described as a “sticky, greasy mud”. In scientific terms: aliphatic compounds.
For the first time, interstellar dust was collected in 2014, then it was reconstructed in the laboratory. In space, it is formed when strong solar winds blow off the surface of red giants, carbon stars, large volumes of their matter. Scientists took an analogue of such a mixture, plasma with a high content of carbon, after which they began to lower the pressure to a vacuum, and the temperature to near absolute zero. And then, using magnetic resonance and spectroscopy, we analyzed what substances were formed in this substrate.
They found about 400-500 carbon atoms per million hydrogen atoms. About 50% of carbon was in pure form, another 25% in the form of education with the formula of naphthalene, and the last quarter – those same aliphatic compounds, dirty and fatty substances. An analogy with lubrication comes to mind, which helps to move huge objects, although in interstellar space this is not so. It is estimated that in our Milky Way Galaxy there may be 10 billion trillion trillion tons of such cosmic fat.
Tim Schmidt, a researcher at the University of Sydney, says – with a high probability this lubricant is toxic to humans. Because it is very heterogeneous, and, in addition to it, other “chemistry” really sticks. But this is a colossal scientific potential – if interstellar dust turned out to be so complex in composition, it’s time to reconsider theories of creating planetary systems and the birth of life on them .