文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2011-08-02 02:34 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

ESA's Herschel space observatory1 has found molecules3 of oxygen in a nearby star-forming cloud. This is the first undisputed detection of oxygen molecules in space. It concludes a long search but also leaves questions unanswered. The oxygen molecules have been found in the nearby Orion star-forming complex. While atomic oxygen has been long known in warm regions of space, previous missions looking for the molecular4 variety – two atoms of oxygen bonded5 together – came up largely empty-handed.

Even the observed amount of atomic oxygen is far less than that expected and this created an oxygen 'accounting6 problem' that can be roughly voiced as "where is all the oxygen hiding in the cold clouds?"

NASA's Submillimetre Wave Astronomy Satellite and Sweden's Odin mission have both searched for molecular oxygen and established that its abundance(充裕) is dramatically lower than expected.

One possibility put forward to explain this was that oxygen atoms freeze onto tiny dust grains found floating in space and are converted to water ice, effectively removing them from sight.

If this is true, the ice should evaporate(蒸发,脱水) in warmer regions of the cosmos7, returning water to the gas and allowing molecular oxygen to form and to be seen.

Paul Goldsmith, NASA's Herschel project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and an international team of investigators8 went looking for it with Herschel.

They used Herschel's HIFI far-infrared9 instrument and targeted Orion, where they reasoned that the forming stars would heat the surrounding gas and dust.

Using three infrared frequencies of the instrument, the Herschel Oxygen Project team were successful. They found there to be one molecule2 of oxygen for every million hydrogen molecules.

"This explains where some of the oxygen might be hiding," said Dr Goldsmith. "But we didn't find large amounts of it, and still don't understand what is so special about the spots where we find it. The Universe still holds many secrets."

Oxygen, in all its forms, is the third most abundant element in the Universe and a major ingredient(原料,要素) of our planet. It is found in our atmosphere, oceans and rocks, and is critical for life itself because we breathe the molecular form.

Although the search continues for it in space, Göran Pilbratt, ESA's Herschel Project Scientist, believes this is a breakthrough moment: "Thanks to Herschel, we now have an undisputed confirmation10 that molecular oxygen is definitely out there. There are still many open questions but Herschel's superior capabilities11 now enables us to address these riddles12."


1 observatory hRgzP     
  • Guy's house was close to the observatory.盖伊的房子离天文台很近。
  • Officials from Greenwich Observatory have the clock checked twice a day.格林威治天文台的职员们每天对大钟检查两次。
2 molecule Y6Tzn     
  • A molecule of water is made up of two atoms of hygrogen and one atom of oxygen.一个水分子是由P妈?f婘??妈?成的。
  • This gives us the structural formula of the molecule.这种方式给出了分子的结构式。
3 molecules 187c25e49d45ad10b2f266c1fa7a8d49     
分子( molecule的名词复数 )
  • The structure of molecules can be seen under an electron microscope. 分子的结构可在电子显微镜下观察到。
  • Inside the reactor the large molecules are cracked into smaller molecules. 在反应堆里,大分子裂变为小分子。
4 molecular mE9xh     
  • The research will provide direct insight into molecular mechanisms.这项研究将使人能够直接地了解分子的机理。
  • For the pressure to become zero, molecular bombardment must cease.当压强趋近于零时,分子的碰撞就停止了。
5 bonded 2xpzkP     
  • The whisky was taken to bonded warehouses at Port Dundee.威士忌酒已送到邓迪港的保稅仓库。
  • This adhesive must be applied to both surfaces which are to be bonded together.要粘接的两个面都必须涂上这种黏合剂。
6 accounting nzSzsY     
  • A job fell vacant in the accounting department.财会部出现了一个空缺。
  • There's an accounting error in this entry.这笔账目里有差错。
7 cosmos pn2yT     
  • Our world is but a small part of the cosmos.我们的世界仅仅是宇宙的一小部分而已。
  • Is there any other intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos?在宇宙的其他星球上还存在别的有智慧的生物吗?
8 investigators e970f9140785518a87fc81641b7c89f7     
n.调查者,审查者( investigator的名词复数 )
  • This memo could be the smoking gun that investigators have been looking for. 这份备忘录可能是调查人员一直在寻找的证据。
  • The team consisted of six investigators and two secretaries. 这个团队由六个调查人员和两个秘书组成。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 infrared dx0yp     
  • Infrared is widely used in industry and medical science.红外线广泛应用于工业和医学科学。
  • Infrared radiation has wavelengths longer than those of visible light.红外辐射的波长比可见光的波长长。
10 confirmation ZYMya     
  • We are waiting for confirmation of the news.我们正在等待证实那个消息。
  • We need confirmation in writing before we can send your order out.给你们发送订购的货物之前,我们需要书面确认。
11 capabilities f7b11037f2050959293aafb493b7653c     
n.能力( capability的名词复数 );可能;容量;[复数]潜在能力
  • He was somewhat pompous and had a high opinion of his own capabilities. 他有点自大,自视甚高。 来自辞典例句
  • Some programmers use tabs to break complex product capabilities into smaller chunks. 一些程序员认为,标签可以将复杂的功能分为每个窗格一组简单的功能。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
12 riddles 77f3ceed32609b0d80430e545f553e31     
n.谜(语)( riddle的名词复数 );猜不透的难题,难解之谜
  • Few riddles collected from oral tradition, however, have all six parts. 但是据收集的情况看,口头流传的谜语很少具有这完整的六部分。 来自英汉非文学 - 民俗
  • But first, you'd better see if you can answer riddles. 但是你首先最好想想你会不会猜谜语。 来自辞典例句
TAG标签: space star oxygen