Monday, May 20, 2024

Buried in the Cat’s Paw Nebula lies one of the largest space molecules ever seen

AstronomyBuried in the Cat's Paw Nebula lies one of the largest space molecules ever seen


Scientists have discovered a hitherto unknown space molecule while investigating a relatively nearby region of intense star birth, a cosmic spot about 5,550 light-years away. It’s part of the Cat’s Paw Nebula, also known as NGC 6334.

The team, led by Zachary Fried, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined a section of the nebula known as NGC 6334I with the  Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This revealed the presence of a complex molecule known as 2-methoxyethanol, which had never been seen before in the natural world, though its properties had been simulated in labs on Earth.

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