The complexity of H2-CO has been found to help in further studies of interstellar gases; Research

The Eagle Nebula thought to contain molecular hydrogen

Scientists have unveiled the mystery of an indefinable space molecule that may help them in further studies of vast clouds of interstellar gasses in the Milky Way galaxy.

This research has been published online in the June 1 issue of the journal Science.

[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]Scientists were unable to look and understand at the molecule directly, so they make the use of interactions of the molecule with the other chemicals and improved understanding of the compound H2-CO make it easy to work on the molecule.

H2-CO is important as it could help in finding the molecular hydrogen in space. Hydrogen and helium are thought to be present in huge amount in the spaces after big bang. In fact, molecular hydrogen makes up about 75% of the universe but in its coldest form it is not visible and can only be detected by its interactions with other elements.

In the space, where carbon monoxide and hydrogen interact, a combination of these makes, i.e. H2-CO, that can help astronomers in studying the most abundant molecule in the universe. Scientists in this study not only observe the complex but also used advanced theoretical methods to derive the theoretical spectrum of the complex of H2-CO.

You can find the abstract of the paper below;

Rovibrational spectroscopy of molecules boasts extremely high precision, but its usefulness relies on the assignment of spectral features to corresponding quantum mechanical transitions. In the case of ortho-H2-CO, a weakly bound complex abundant in the interstellar medium (although not yet observed there), the rather complex spectrum has been unexplained for more than a decade. We assigned this spectrum by comparison with a purely ab initio calculation. For most lines, agreement to within 0.01 centimeter−1 between experiment and theory was achieved. Our results show that the applicability of rovibrational spectroscopy can be extended with the assistance of high-accuracy quantum mechanical computations.

Via: Space


Piotr Jankowski, A. R. W. McKellar, Krzysztof Szalewicz, (2012). Theory Untangles the High-Resolution Infrared Spectrum of the ortho-H2-CO van der Waals Complex. Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1221000

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