The Largest Organic Molecule is Found in Dust Surrounding a Star

The Largest Organic Molecule is Found in Dust Surrounding a Star

Finding organic molecules is certainly no child’s play, and the discovery becomes even more exciting once it happens in outer space. Scientists using the ALMA telescope from Chile are the lucky ones who found the largest organic molecule ever discovered in a cloud of dust surrounding a star and representing the fuel for giving birth to new planets, according to

IRS 48 is the name of the star that’s also the location of the new discovery. The celestial object is also part of our Milky Way galaxy – roughly 444 light-years away in the constellation Ophiucus, to be more precise.

Dimethyl ether enters the cosmic scene

Dimethyl ether is the name of the large organic molecule that has been detected by scientists. There’s no wonder why it’s composed of nine atoms. The substance is also a precursor to amino acids and sugars, which are essential for life. Scientists even suspect that planets similar to Earth may be forming in the same ring of dust, which is exhilarating news.

Alice Booth from the Leiden Observatory said about the importance of the molecules found in the surrounding ring of dust, as quotes:

What makes this even more exciting is that we now know these larger complex molecules are available to feed forming planets in the disc,

This was not known before as in most systems these molecules are hidden in the ice.

Here’s what Nashanty Brunken said, the lead author of the study:

From these results, we can learn more about the origin of life on our planet and therefore get a better idea of the potential for life in other planetary systems.

Could there be that scientists are getting closer to finding life elsewhere in the Universe? Feel free to tell us your own opinion!




Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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