Astronomers find ‘complex organic molecules’ in young planetary system




European astronomers have complex organic molecules found in the protoplanetary disk of a young star. The discovery contains an indication that the building blocks of life are universal and can form anywhere in the universe.

The study focused on a gas cloud in orbit around the star MWC 480. This so-called proto-planetary disk is formed in the very young stars and may be a precursor for a system of planets that is situated in the attraction field of a star. European astronomers, working at the European Southern Observatory, discovered that the disk contains complex organic compounds. It involves methyl cyanide, or CH 3 CN, which is based on carbon. Also, the simpler hydrogen cyanide HCN with molecular formula has been discovered. Astronomers have succeeded in their research published in the renowned scientific journal Nature.

Methyl Cyanide is a molecule of interest to astrobiologists because it includes bonds between carbon and nitrogen. Such compounds are needed to form amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The formation of methyl cyanide is an important step towards the eventual development of the building blocks of life.

MWC 480 star

The presence of such complex organic molecules in a young star implies that the building blocks that are necessary for the development of life can be formed anywhere, and thus not only in the solar system. These organic compounds thus appear to have been literally universally, although it is thus not excluded that life also can form, on the basis of other types of compounds. Star MWC 480 is 455 light years away from the earth and is astronomically seen recently formed from gas clouds. Eventually, there may be a planetary system formed similar to our own solar system with multiple planets that are orbiting the star and thus a subsequent form of life.

There are, moreover, already been alien organic molecules found. So loved Curiosity recently instructions biological building blocks on Mars. However, there is considerably less is known about the origin and evolution of such molecules, making the discovery of the ESO important.

For the discovery has been made ​​use of the -Telescope ALMA. In time, it must be replaced by a better model, the European Extremely Large Telescope. Meanwhile, the construction of the telescope is started . As with the ALMA chosen for the Atacama Desert in Chile, which is seen as a convenient location for the study of the universe.


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