Diamonds are abundant in space, and scientists have found evidence for their presence in protoplanetary discs. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Tiny diamonds are littered throughout the cosmos in the form of bits of crystalline carbon, a fraction the size of a grain of sand. New research from the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, United States has detected these diamonds around three young star systems within our Milky Way. These ‘microscopic gemstones’ are exciting to astronomers as they have been identified as a source of a mysterious cosmic microwave ‘glow’ emanating from different protoplanetary discs in our galaxy.
There is an unusual faint microwave light emitted from different parts of the Milky Way that has perpetually perplexed astronomers. This is best known as Anomalous Microwave Emission (AME) and is thought to be light emitted from rapidly spinning nanoparticles – bits of matter so small that even ordinary microscopes cannot detect them. To put this into context, the period on an average printed page is approximately 500,000 nanometres across.
“Though we know that some type of particle is responsible for this microwave light, its precise source has been a puzzle since it was first detected nearly 20 years ...