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Study reveals importance of hydrogen atoms for star formation

Study reveals importance of hydrogen atoms for star formation

Science
Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Until recently, astronomers assumed hydrogen molecules fueled star formation in young galaxies. But new research suggests atomic hydrogen may be equally important to star formation.In the local universe, most hydrogen found inside galaxies exists as individual atoms. Scientists assumed younger galaxies would host less atomic hydrogen and more molecular hydrogen. But cosmic surveys suggest even the earliest galaxies were rich in atomic hydrogen.Now, new analysis by researchers at the University of Western Australia and the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research confirms even galaxies featuring intense rates of star formation host large amounts of atomic hydrogen.Previous studies of "cosmic noon" galaxies have revealed massive reservoirs of molecular hydrogen. Cos...
Giant X-ray camera takes photos of atoms

Giant X-ray camera takes photos of atoms

Technology
An X-ray camera so powerful it can capture images of individual atoms and make movies of chemical reactions has begun operating today.The X-Ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) can flash 27,000 laser beams per second - each one a billion times brighter than that of conventional X-Ray sources.Scientists from eleven countries will use it to research the molecular composition of viruses and cells, and take three-dimensional images of the universe on a nano-molecular scale.It will drive forward international research by filming chemical reactions and by investigating the processes occurring deep inside of planets.Built in an underground facility stretching 3.4km from the German city of Hamburg to the town of Schenefeld, scientists say XFEL "marks the beginning a new era of research in Europe".XFEL s...