Scientists Catch Trace Of Largest Molecule Ever Found In A Planet-Forming Disk

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While utilizing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands have in a first time have detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc. With nine atoms, this is the largest molecule identified in such a disc to date. It is also a precursor of larger organic molecules that can lead to the emergence of life. Read below to know more.

In a research paper published under the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, researchers have found at planet-forming disc around the young star IRS 48 (also known as Oph-IRS 48) with the help of ALMA, an observatory co-owned by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers have for the first time detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc.

IRS 48

IRS 48, located 444 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, has been the subject of numerous studies because its disc contains an asymmetric, cashew-nut-shaped “dust trap”. This region, which likely formed as a result of a newly born planet or small companion star located between the star and the dust trap, retains large numbers of millimetre-sized dust grains that can come together and grow into kilometre-sized objects like comets, asteroids and potentially even planets.





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