On the nature of interstellar grains

  title={On the nature of interstellar grains},
  author={Fred Sir Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe},
  journal={Astrophysics and Space Science},
Data on interstellar extinction are interpreted to imply an identification of interstellar grains with naturally freeze-dried bacteria and algae. The total mass of such bacterial and algal cells in the galaxy is enormous, ∼1040 g. The identification is based on Mie scattering calculations for an experimentally determined size distribution of bacteria. Agreement between our model calculations and astronomical data is remarkably precise over the wavelength intervals µ−1 < ;−2 < 1.94µ−1 and 2.5µ−1… 

The ultraviolet absorbance of presumably interstellar bacteria and related matters

It is shown that the well-known 2200 Å peak in the extinction of starlight is explained by microorganisms. A mixed culture of diatoms and bacteria, which previously we found to give excellent fits to

Interstellar extinction by cometary organic grain clumps

The observed features of the interstellar extinction curve in both the Galaxy and in the external galaxies LMC and SMC are explained on the basis of a model involving clumps of hollow or porous

Discovery of organic grains in comet Halley

Comets are believed to have formed at the same time as the other bodies in the Solar System, but at a sufficient distance from the proto-Sun that their composition was unaffected by fractionation.

A spectroscopic study of the microorganism model of interstellar grains

The microorganism model of interstellar grains is investigated by spectroscopy from the infrared (IR), visible to the ultraviolet (UV) wave regions.E. coli, yeast and spores ofBacillus subtilis

Contribution to interstellar extinction from an astrophysical microsoot?

The optical constants of a carbon polymorph, calculated using the Drude dispersion theory, are shown to lead to close agreements with the mean interstellar extinction curve over the waveband 0.3 ≤

Investigation of claims for interstellar organisms and complex organic molecules

For many years, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe and their associates have examined interstellar (IS) absorption features in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared and ‘identified’ them with a variety of organic

Models of the Extinction and Polarisation of Starlight

The extinction and polarisation of starlight are perhaps the most important observational properties of interstellar grains. Models of interstellar grain must satisfy the primary requirement that

Thermodynamic Explanation for the Cosmic Ubiquity of Organic Pigments

There is solid evidence for the occurrence of large amounts of organic material in the cosmos, particularly in the form of aromatic compounds. These molecules can be found on the surface of Earth and

Diatoms on earth, comets, europa and in interstellar space

There exists a close correspondence between the measured infrared properties of diatoms and the infrared spectrum of interstellar dust as observed in the Trapezium nebula and toward the galactic

Diatoms on Earth, Comets, Europa and in Interstellar Space

There exists a close correspondence between the measured infrared properties of diatoms and the infrared spectrum of interstellar dust as observed in the Trapezium nebula and toward the galactic



Colour Centres in Interstellar Grains

ONE of us has shown1,2 that the interstellar extinction curve in the visible spectral region may be represented to a high degree of accuracy by two straight lines intersecting at λ = 4300 Å. Although

Are there organic grains in the interstellar medium?

THE possibility that organic compounds exist in or on interstellar grains has received much attention recently. It has been suggested that grains consist of polysaccharides1, carbonaceous compounds2

Polysaccharides and infrared spectra of galactic sources

OBSERVATIONS over the infrared waveband 2–30 µm available for a number of astronomical objects are shown here to be reconcilable with the transmittance properties of polysaccha-rides. Using an

Measurements of the “Corner” of the Interstellar Extinction Law

IT was shown by Whitford1 and confirmed by Nandy2 that, over the visible part of the spectrum, the wavelength dependence of interstellar obscuration, in magnitudes against reciprocal wavelength, can

Prebiotic polymers and infrared spectra of galactic sources

INFRARED absorption features characteristic of molecular dust clouds in the Galaxy may be assigned to complex organic polymers or prebiotic polymers. It could be argued that such highly stable,

Ultraviolet photometry from the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory. II Interstellar extinction.

Evaluation of interstellar extinction curves over the region from 3600 to 1100 A for 17 stars. The observations were made by the two Wisconsin spectrometers on board the Orbiting Astronomical

Identification of the λ2, 200Å interstellar absorption feature

A BROAD absorption feature centred on λ2, 200Å with a half-width of ∼ 300Å appears in the spectra of reddened stars1–3. This conspicuous feature in the interstellar extinction curve, might hold an

Origin and nature of carbonaceous material in the galaxy

ASTRONOMERS generally believe that the carbonaceous material emerging from stars must be in the form of graphite, the most stable condensed form of carbon, and that such emergence must be confined to

Organic molecules in interstellar dust: A possible spectral signature at λ2200 Å?

The ⇌2200 Å interstellar absorption band, generally attributed to graphite grains, could equally well arise from π→π* electronic transitions in conjugated double bonds of organic molecules. These