Supernova Condensate is a blog about our place in the Universe. Of astronomy, chemistry and life in the big bad bubble of academia.
Invader Xan is a molecular astrophysicist and part-time alien invader, who spends life looking at very small things on very large scales, and trying to better understand the chemistry of interstellar space.
Buy me a coffee?
Tag Archives: papers
Now I’m a big fan of alternative biochemistry theories in the search for extraterrestrial life. It seems logical to think that given the size of the universe and the number of possible environments out there, life might have found more … Continue reading
I stumbled upon a fascinating paper on arXiv the other day. Anyone who works with lasers should be familiar with the concept of stimulated emission – the means by which photons excite electrons which, in turn, emit more photons (identical, … Continue reading
As a lot of people will know by now, the human race is officially going back to Jupiter and its moons. It’s currently scheduled to get there by about 2026. I’m seriously looking forward to it, myself. There’s an awful … Continue reading
Quite a puzzler in astrochemistry and astrobiology is where exactly prebiotic amino acids form. We know they can form in interstellar space. We’ve found them inside chondritic meteorites. All the ingredients exist in the interstellar medium. There have even been … Continue reading
When I saw this paper’s title I was intrigued. When I realised what this paper was actually about, I was genuinely enthralled! A couple of months ago, I was wondering whether it would be possible to take a gamma ray … Continue reading
Since they were first discovered in 1952, blue stragglers have baffled astronomers. Appearing strangely youthful amid their ageing brethren, many now believe blue stragglers are formed when two smaller stars merge. There is, however, one theory which is rather more… … Continue reading
As many an astrochemist will tell you without hesitation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are important molecules to study, because they’re directly relevant to the origins of life. We tend to repeat this like a mantra, and perhaps we don’t always fully … Continue reading
Ah, the humble proton. Simple, stable, and able to drastically affect the chemistry of other molecules — and nowhere more so than in the Interstellar Medium (ISM). H2 molecules, for instance are readily protonated in dense interstellar clouds, forming H3+, … Continue reading
Traditionally, anyone seriously researching extraterrestrial life has tended to ignore red dwarfs. Typically a disproportionately low number of them have been included in SETI searches, for instance. They’re troublesome, ill-tempered little things which like to randomly flare up for seemingly … Continue reading
Glycolaldehyde is what everyone’s talking about. And when I say everyone, what I really mean is some astrochemists. To give you the background, glycolaldehyde is a fairly simple hydrocarbon molecule, and arguably the simplest known sugar (a “diose”). I say … Continue reading