Diamond dust in space may be emitting microwave light
Scientists have long been puzzled by an unusual microwave glow seen in some parts of the Milky Way, but may finally have the answer.
GREEN BANK, WEST VIRGINIA — Astronomers may have finally figured out the decades-old mystery of certain glowing regions in our galaxy: nanodiamonds.
According to the Green Bank Observatory, faint microwave lights known as anomalous microwave emissions, or AME, were first spotted in the Milky Way 20 years ago.
Infrared-light emitting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were initially thought to be responsible, but not all systems with PAH clouds had an AME glow.
A new study published in the journal Nature studied 14 newly formed star systems using West Virginia's Green Bank Telescope and the Australia Telescope Compact Array. Researchers noticed AME coming from three newborn star systems, all of which were the only ones surrounded by diamond dust.
The light is believed to result from the rapidly spinning nanodiamond particles producing a dipole moment and emitting electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range.
Apart from being both unexpected and cool, scientists suggest the findings can shed light on the chemical signatures of early solar systems, with implications on how ours looked right after the Big Bang.
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