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Space Just Got Sweeter

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Sugar in SpaceThe presence of sugar in a number of things including our own body does not surprise us anymore. But the latest news from space has left us baffled for sure. A relatively young star has been found with several simple sugar molecules hovering around it. Amazing facts to be sure! Let us check out the details…

 


The Finding

The Astronomers from USA and Denmark have detected molecules of glycolaldehyde, a simple form of sugar within the gas cloud surrounding IRAS 16293-2422, a star like to the sun. The distance of this particular star is almost 400 light years away from us. Scientists around the world are surprised but not at the presence of sugar molecules.  Glycolaldehyde has been found before among the interstellar spaces but its presence so close to a star has piqued the curiosity of the entire scientific community working on astronomy.

 

"In the disc of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde, which is a simple form of sugar, not much different to the sugar we put in coffee," were the words of Jes Jorgensen, the chief author of the paper published in “Astrophysical Journal Letters” about the find.

 


What Is Glycolaldehyde?

It is a very simple form of sugar found in the RNA which is similar to DNA , an essential factor for creation of carbon based life forms which includes the human being. The scientists are hopeful that its presence so close to the binary star system could be highly significant. The motion of the  glycolaldehyde molecules show that they have been falling towards the sun , an indication of the planet formation.

 

Cécile Favre, one of the members o this team revealed, "the sugar molecules are not only in the right place to find their way onto a planet, but they are also going in the right direction."

 


How Was The Discovery Made

The astronomers made the observation from the “European Southern Observatory” located in Chile. The ALMA telescope was utilized to detect the presence of radiation from the chemical compounds that were evaporating from the cloud of dust and gas surrounding the star.

 

The scientists are now eagerly waiting to see how the simple molecules get complex as they descend towards the star. This might provide an insight into the formation of extraterrestrial life.

 

Well, who knew that sugar could have such far-reaching consequences. Do you think that sugar could lead us to life on other planets? Do write in with your comments.  

 

Image Credit- dekstopwallpaper

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