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2Physics Quote:
"The quantum-mechanical behavior of light atoms plays an important role in shaping the physical and chemical properties of hydrogen-bonded liquids, such as water. Tunneling is a classic quantum effect in which a particle moves through a potential barrier despite classically lacking sufficient energy to transverse it. The tunneling of hydrogen atoms in condensed matter systems has been observed for translational motions through metals, anomalous proton diffusion in water phases, and in the rotation of methyl and ammonia groups ..."
Alexander I. Kolesnikov, George F. Reiter, Narayani Choudhury, Timothy R. Prisk, Eugene Mamontov, Andrey Podlesnyak, George Ehlers, Andrew G. Seel, David J. Wesolowski, Lawrence M. Anovitz
(Read Full Article: "Quantum Tunneling of Water in Ultra-Confinement"
)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hydrogen in Far Galaxy

A team of astronomers from European Southern Observatory (ESO) detected the presence of molecular hydrogen in the farthest system ever, an otherwise invisible galaxy that we observe when the Universe was less than 1.5 billion years old (The universe is estimated to be about 15 billion years old). The astronomers find that there is about one hydrogen molecule for 250 hydrogen atoms. This also implies that the gas in this galaxy must be rather cold, about -90 to -180 degrees Celsius. In addition, several lines from 'metals' are also seen, allowing the researchers to deduce the amount of various chemical elements.

The team arrived at this conclusion analyzing light from a quasar located 12.3 billion light-years away. A similar set of observations for two other quasars, together with the most precise laboratory measurements, allows scientists to infer that the ratio of the proton to electron masses may have changed with time (our last posting).

These exciting results will be available in a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters ("Molecular Hydrogen in a Damped Lyman-α system at zabs=4.224", by C. Ledoux, P. Petitjean, and R. Srianand).

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