Spectroscopic evidence for interstellar grain clumps in meteoritic inclusions


THE occurrence of a primitive, presolar grain component in carbonaceous chondrites has been indicated by several independent lines of evidence, including the discovery of isotopic abundance anomalies1,2. The occurrence of organic molecules, including amino acids, in these meteorites is also known3,4, but their connection with a genuinely pre-solar grain component has been conjectural. We show here that an extract of organic material from the Murchison carbonaceous chondrite has an ultraviolet spectrum with an absorption band centred at λ ≈ 2,200 Å. The similarity of this feature with the well-known interstellar absorption band at the same wavelength, gives strong credence to an interstellar grain component within this meteorite.

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SAKATA, A., NAKAGAWA, N., IGUCHI, T. et al. Spectroscopic evidence for interstellar grain clumps in meteoritic inclusions. Nature 266, 241 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1038/266241a0

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