Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.

Photodissociation of the Hydroxyl Radical (OH)

Photodissociation of the hydroxyl radical.
Animation courtesy COMET.

The hydroxyl radical (OH) is essentially a piece of a molecule, made up of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom. It is highly reactive. It is often produced when a water molecule loses a hydrogen atom.

This animation illustrates the process of photodissociation of the hydroxyl radical. When an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photon strikes the hydroxyl radical (OH) , it photodissociates the radical into two separate parts - a hydrogen atom (H) and an oxygen atom (O). The energy from the photon breaks the chemical bond that holds the atoms together.

You will need to have the latest version of the Flash player to see this animation.


Photodissociation of Water

Photodissociation of Molecular Oxygen

Photodissociation of Molecular Nitrogen

Last modified February 17, 2006 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Molecules

Most things around us are made of groups of atoms bonded together into packages called molecules. The atoms in a molecule are held together because they share or exchange electrons. Molecules are made...more

Photodissociation

Sometimes when a photon hits a molecule, the energy from the photon causes the molecule to break apart. Scientists use the term "photodissociation" for such events. Photodissociation plays a very important...more

Photon

Light is very strange. Sometimes it is best to think of light as a series of waves. At other times, it is useful to think of light as a swarm of particles. When we think of light as particles, we call...more

First local C-130 flight from Veracruz

This picture shows us getting ready for the first local flight of the NCAR/NSF C-130 flying out of Veracruz. We flew toward Mexico City, did some measurements in the Mexico City basin, and then flew West...more

Nitric Acid - HNO3

Nitric acid is a colorless, corrosive liquid and a toxic acid which can cause severe burns. Nitric acid consists of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Nitric acid, in its gas phase, is present in very...more

Sulfuric Acid - H2SO4

Sulfuric acid is a viscous, oily liquid and a strong acid which can cause severe burns. Sulfuric acid consists of sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Sulfuric acid is one of the components of acid rain....more

Methane - CH4

Methane is gas that is found in small quantities in Earth's atmosphere. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF