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An Infrared Spectral Match Between GEMS and Interstellar Grains

Science  10 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5434, pp. 1716-1718
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5434.1716

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Abstract

Infrared spectral properties of silicate grains in interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) were compared with those of astronomical silicates. The ∼10-micrometer silicon-oxygen stretch bands of IDPs containing enstatite (MgSiO3), forsterite (Mg2SiO4), and glass with embedded metal and sulfides (GEMS) exhibit fine structure and bandwidths similar to those of solar system comets and some pre–main sequence Herbig Ae/Be stars. Some GEMS exhibit a broad, featureless silicon-oxygen stretch band similar to those observed in interstellar molecular clouds and young stellar objects. These GEMS provide a spectral match to astronomical “amorphous” silicates, one of the fundamental building blocks from which the solar system is presumed to have formed.

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