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Scientists have solved a decades-long mystery of a red glow that permeates our Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies.
The red glow is most prominent in a strange, dying star called the Red Rectangle, named for the bizarre structure that surrounds it.
The red light, astronomers now say, radiates from invisibly small clusters of dust that are now believed to glow because of newly described molecular forces that oppose each other on very small scales.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
Researchers suspected carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were the culprit
Thing is, for PAHs to create the red glow, they would have to be bombarded by ultraviolet radiation so harsh that it would destroy all known forms of these structures.
"Our simulation shows that this type of charged PAH cluster can account for the ERE while satisfying the physical requirements necessary to survive the harsh interstellar conditions," said team member Young Min Rhee, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.