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First possible molecule to exist has been found!

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    First possible molecule to exist has been found!

    Astronomers have spotted the universe’s first molecule | Science | AAAS

    The universe’s very first molecule, thought to be created after the big bang, has been detected in space for the first time. Helium hydride (HeH), a combination of helium and hydrogen, was spotted some 3000 light-years from Earth by an instrument aboard the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope built into a converted 747 jet that flies above the opaque parts of Earth’s atmosphere.

    HeH has long been thought to mark the “dawn of chemistry,” as the remnants of the big bang cooled to about 4000 K and ions began to team up with electrons to form neutral atoms. Researchers believe that in that primordial gas, neutral helium reacted with hydrogen ions to form the first chemical bond joining the very first molecule.
    Woot!
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  • #2

    Huh. I wonder how they spotted it from such a distance?
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    • #3

      Originally posted by Arratra View Post
      Huh. I wonder how they spotted it from such a distance?
      To find the elusive molecule, astrochemists search for characteristic frequencies of light it emits, particularly a spectral line in the far infrared typically blocked by Earth’s atmosphere. But a far-infrared spectrometer aboard SOFIA allowed them to find that signature for the first time, in a planetary nebula called NGC 7027 (pictured above),
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      • #4

        Yeah. Bit embarrassed that I posted that before I actually read the full article.
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        • #5

          Originally posted by Arratra View Post
          Yeah. Bit embarrassed that I posted that before I actually read the full article.
          Eh, happens to all of us.
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