There are two versions of each lab, one with a ten-question conclusion and one with directions for a full lab report. This way the teacher has the option! Each lab is two pages to allow for one two-sided handout.
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*Some of you have already purchased my lab book – be sure to check out Page 141 !
“When the universe formed during the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, the chemical reactions of the aftermath formed the first molecules. Those first molecules were crucial in helping form everything we know, but they're also absent.
And although HeH+, the helium hydride ion, has been proposed for years as that first molecule, scientists couldn't find any evidence of its existence in space -- until now. The findings were published Wednesday [04/17/19] in the journal Nature.
After the Big Bang, HeH+ formed in a molecular bond when helium atoms and protons combined. Later, these would break apart into hydrogen molecules and helium atoms. Both elements are the two most abundant throughout the universe, with hydrogen first and helium second. “
“Researchers have detected the first molecule in space that was formed after the Big Bang. Previously, they had searched for helium hydride ions for decades. The finding could help to further understanding of the early development of the universe, reports a team led by Rolf Güsten from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn in the journal ‘Nature’.
Helium hydride ions were the first molecules to form in the universe after the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago. Although the existence of the ion, a compound of ionised hydrogen and helium, was shown in the laboratory as early as 1925, it remained undetectable in space for a long time. ‘To date, there have simply been no appropriate detectors’, said astrophysicist Güsten."
“The lack of evidence of the very existence of helium hydride in interstellar space was a dilemma for astronomy for decades,” says Rolf Guesten of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, in Bonn, Germany, and lead author of the paper, in a press statement.
The dilemma was solved by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA. The world’s largest airborne observatory, SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It's an airplane—an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a 2.7-meter (106 inch) reflecting telescope.
Helium hydride has long presented challenges to scientists. In the late 1970s, while studying a planetary nebula called NGC 702, a growing suspicion formed that it could be a cradle for this earliest of molecules. But nothing, not even space telescopes, could clear the noise of the nebula for the specific signal of helium hydride.
So scientists turned to SOFIA. The plane flies at 45,000 feet, above the interfering layers of the Earth's atmosphere. While it can't get as close to objects in space as the Hubble, it does have one serious advantage—it can come back to Earth. That means scientists can make adjustments based on why they are searching the skies. …
One of those instruments is known as the German Receiver at Terahertz Frequencies, or GREAT. Scientists were able to alter GREAT by adding a channel specifically geared towards helium hydride. Similar to a radio receiver, GREAT was able to tune into the frequencies generated by helium hydride molecules.”
“The Big Bang itself produced just a handful of elements (variations of hydrogen, helium and lithium nuclei), so researchers have a pretty good sense of what the first atoms and molecules might have been. But the very first molecular bond to form, linking together atoms of different elements in a single molecule, has long been missing in action.
Known as a helium hydride ion (HeH+), this conglomeration of basic bits is just a helium atom and a hydrogen’s nucleus (aka a proton) stuck together. As the first compound created in the universe, you’d expect there to be traces of it throughout the universe — but astronomers couldn’t find it. (Scientists managed to produce some in the lab in 1925, so at least they knew it wasn’t an impossible substance.)”
“SOFIA took three flights in May 2016, climbing as high as 45,000 feet, to observe the planetary nebula NGC 7027, Maria Temming reports for Science News. Positioned about 3,000 light-years away, the planetary nebula is an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a star that was once similar to the sun but has ejected most of its material, leaving behind a stellar remnant called a white dwarf. Within the hot gas of the nebula, SOFIA was able to pick out the signature of helium hydride in infrared light. …
Helium hydride is not a particularly stable molecule, but scientists were able to create the positively charged ion in the lab in 1925, reports Bill Andrews for Discover. Astronomers have hoped to find the molecule in a nebula for decades, and in the 1970s, observations of NGC 7027 suggested that it might have the right conditions—high heat and large amounts of ultraviolet radiation—for helium hydride to form.
More recently, an upgrade to one of SOFIA’s instruments, the German Receiver at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT), allowed the airborne telescope to search for the wavelength of light emitted by helium hydride ions. The instrument works like a radio receiver, according to the NASA statement, and telescope operators can tune to the correct frequency to search for specific molecules.
The helium hydride observed by SOFIA was formed in NGC 7027, long after the first molecules were created more than 13 billion years ago. But the lead author of the new study, Rolf Güsten of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, and his team plan to use the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile to search for helium hydride that was created shortly after the big bang. If they are successful, humanity will have peered back in time billions of years and spotted some of the first building blocks of everything that was to come.”
“Adam Perry, who studied helium hydride while at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, likens the new find to unearthing a fossil that fills a missing link in animal evolution. “Everybody knew [helium hydride] had to be out there,” says Perry, who wasn’t involved in the study. But ‘where before there wasn't any hard evidence, now there is.
… People who do astrochemistry are going to be very excited about this.’
Studying the helium hydride ions in NGC 7027 may offer new insights into the chemical reactions that form these ions, says study coauthor Rolf Güsten, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.
Güsten and colleagues also hope to use the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in northern Chile to scour the distant, early universe for helium hydride ions born soon after the Big Bang.
'Helium hydride is a finicky molecule. Helium itself is a noble gas making it very unlikely to combine with any other kind of atom. But in 1925, scientists were able to create the molecule in a laboratory by coaxing the helium to share one of its electrons with a hydrogen ion.
Then, in the late 1970s, scientists studying the planetary nebula called NGC 7027 thought that this environment might be just right to form helium hydride. Ultraviolet radiation and heat from the aging star create conditions suitable for helium hydride to form. But their observations were inconclusive. Subsequent efforts hinted it could be there, but the mystery molecule continued to elude detection. The space telescopes used did not have the specific technology to pick out the signal of helium hydride from the medley of other molecules in the nebula.”
About 2/3 down the page is a 1 ½ minute video describing the existence of hydrogen-hydride:
“HeH+ is the strongest known acid on Earth and was first synthesized in a lab in 1925. Because it is made from hydrogen and helium — the two most abundant elements in the universe and the first to emerge from the nuclear reactor of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago — scientists have long predicted that the molecule was the very first one to form when the cooling universe allowed protons, neutrons and electrons to exist side by side in atoms.
Scientists can't rewind the universe to hunt for this fledgling molecule where it was born, but they can look for it in parts of the modern universe that best replicate those superhot, superdense conditions — in the young nebulae of gas and plasma that explode out of dying stars.
These so-called planetary nebulae form when sun-like stars reach the end of their lives, blast away their outer shells and shrivel into white dwarfs to slowly cool into crystal balls. As those dying stars cool, they still radiate enough heat to strip nearby hydrogen atoms of their electrons, turning the atoms into the bare protons that are required for HeH+ to form.
Detecting HeH+ in even the closest planetary nebulae to Earth is tricky, because it glows at an infrared wavelength that is easily obscured by our own planet's atmosphere. In the new study, researchers got around that atmospheric haze by using a high-tech telescope mounted on a moving aircraft called SOFIA (the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy).”
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