Rydberg Matter… Invisible Hazard?

Rydberg Matter in Space.

Rydberg atoms are atoms orbitted by electrons in an excited state which leaves them barely attached to their nucleii, often for surprisingly long time periods. Rydberg Matter is basically clusters of Rydberg atoms attracted to each other and forming stable small n clusters. These small clusters typically form “atomic snowflakes”, but these in turn link up in long chains. Collected together in space Rydberg matter composed of interstellar hydrogen is largely transparent to radio, visible and IR light, thus it’s almost impossible to see… and possibly a billion times denser than the 106 protons per m3 that makes up most of the ISM. That’s bad news for interstellar travel as running into the stuff at high-speed (~0.1 c or more) would cause incredible meteoric levels of heating ~25,000 K.

An explanation for Fermi’s Paradox? Unsure. The chief researcher on Rydberg Matter seems kind of solitary in his research, perhaps indicating it’s dubious nature. More data from other researchers would be helpful.

8 Replies to “Rydberg Matter… Invisible Hazard?”

  1. Found this via Winchell Chungs’ Facebook posting of it.
    My reply to it there was:
    De-focused maser aimed in the direction of travel with a second aimed into the stellar wind. Not that much different vectors admittedly but it gives you an online backup if the other one goes down. Just shift the beam width a little wider to cover the one that went down. Maser pops the excited state electrons even higher and you’re left with straight foward ions. Simple eletromagnetic shielding to bounce and/or guide them around the ship. Think the ‘navigation’ dish on the front of the Enterprise in the Trekverse.

    1. Hi Michael

      Thanks for dropping by. Nice defense against the Rydberg Matter Menace. I was only semi-serious with the post. The Rydberg Matter clusters sounded too interesting not to discuss and dramatise a bit. Might actually prove valuable if we’re operating ramjets (which I haven’t given up on as a practical system someday.)

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  5. This whole Rydberg matter thing is interesting… I stumbled across it not long ago and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. Need to read up a bit more. It’s certainly an interesting idea…

  6. Hi InvaderXan

    It is fascinating. Wish we had a handle on how to observe it in its native state. Not sure it can really be ‘Dark Matter’ but then no one is too sure what that is anyway.

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