Complex organic molecules that serve as the main “building blocks” of protein life are formed long before in the cold clouds of dust and gas formed the first stars, misleading astronomers in an article in The Astrophysical Journal. The discovery contradicts previous theories that considered the presence of protostars necessary condition to start the synthesis.
Organic molecules found in space quite often: you find them in gas clouds around young stars, in the nuclei of comets, and even satellites of the planets of the Solar system. However, astrophysicists are still not clear as to the exact mechanism of their formation. Initially it was assumed that organic molecules arise on covered with ice or condensed gases particles of cosmic dust, under the influence of ultraviolet radiation of the protostar and of cosmic rays. However, the new results indicate that the protostar are not a necessary ingredient to obtain the “bricks of life”, and they can be formed long before them.
Scibelli Samantha (Samantha Scibelli) and Yancy Shirley (Shirley Yancy) from the University of Arizona with a 12-meter telescope Observatory Kitt Peak studied starless core in the Taurus molecular cloud, which is at a distance of 440 light years from Earth. Starless cores are called dense clumps of gas and dust, which may subsequently form low-mass stars similar to our Sun. The researchers were looking for the spectral traces of two molecules of methanol (CH3OH), one of the most simple, common organic compounds, and more complex acetaldehyde (CH3CHO).
They were able to detect the spectral lines of gaseous methanol in each of the 31 studied the stellar cores. In addition, 70 percent of them contain besides methanol acetaldehyde. The authors interpretiruya received data as evidence that complex organic molecules formed in cold molecular clouds early enough hundreds of thousands of years before the formation of stars and planets. These results cast doubt on previous theories, indicating that the process may lie other mechanisms. In the future Scibelli and Shirley are planning a more detailed study of individual nuclei.
Recently, astronomers found the oxygen molecule outside of our galaxy. Rare in space in the form of a substance found in the active galaxy Markarian 231, which is closest to the Earth quasar.