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Mystery glow is due to spinning nanodiamonds


Posted on Monday, 11 June, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments

Nanodiamonds can be found in protoplanetary disks. Image Credit: NASA / JPL
A long-running mystery concerning an unexplained glow in parts of the night sky has finally been solved.
Known as the anomalous microwave emission (AME), this peculiar glow was originally discovered at the turn of the century by astronomers who had been taking microwave radiation measurements.

Now though, after years of speculation, the answer to the mystery has finally been found and it is all to do with tiny pyramid-shaped diamonds found in the rings of gas and dust around newly formed stars.

"In a Sherlock Holmes-like method of eliminating all other causes, we can confidently say the best candidate capable of producing this microwave glow is the presence of nanodiamonds around these newly formed stars," said Dr Jane Greaves at Cardiff University.

The glow itself is caused by the emission of radiation by these nanodiamonds as they spin around.

The discovery was made by focusing on three young stars that happen to be emitting AME light.

"This is a cool and unexpected resolution of the puzzle of anomalous microwaves radiation," said Greaves. "It's even more interesting that it was obtained by looking at protoplanetary disks, shedding light on the chemical features of early solar systems, including our own."

Source: Independent | Comments (5)

Tags: Glow, Diamonds

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 June, 2018, 19:14
Never have the lyrics of a nursery rhyme been so apt:  
Comment icon #2 Posted by carolinacottontail on 12 June, 2018, 4:17
Diamonds are a girl's best friend!
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 12 June, 2018, 4:31
Could someone explain how spinning nanodiamonds emit microwave radiation?
Comment icon #4 Posted by seanjo on 12 June, 2018, 7:19
All radiation is just light at different wavelengths.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 on 12 June, 2018, 12:58
From the article: Due to a unique arrangement of atoms, nanodiamonds emit radiation as they spin, leading to the glow detected by astronomers on Earth. As they spin so exceptionally fast, the waves of radiation they emit are small – microwave sized – rather than larger wavelengths that would likely be drowned out by other sources of radiation from space.


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