Milky Way’s centre tastes like raspberries and smells of rumApril 21st, 2009 - 1:00 pm ICT by ANI
London, April 21 (ANI): If a long term research by astronomers is anything to go by, then the centre of our of galaxy tastes like raspberries and smells of rum.
According to a report in the Guardian, astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it contains the chemical ethyl formate, which gives raspberries their flavour and smells of rum.
The unanticipated discovery follows years of work by astronomers who trained their 30m radio telescope on the enormous ball of dust and gas in the hope of spotting complex molecules that are vital for life.
Finding amino acids in interstellar space is a Holy Grail for astrobiologists, as this would raise the possibility of life emerging on other planets after being seeded with the molecules.
In the latest survey, astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy.
While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavour of raspberries.
“It does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries,” Arnaud Belloche, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, told the Guardian.
Curiously, ethyl formate has another distinguishing characteristic: it also smells of rum.
The astronomers used the IRAM telescope in Spain to analyse electromagnetic radiation emitted by a hot and dense region of Sagittarius B2 that surrounds a newborn star.
Radiation from the star is absorbed by molecules floating around in the gas cloud, which is then re-emitted at different energies depending on the type of molecule.
While scouring their data, the team also found evidence for the lethal chemical propyl cyanide in the same cloud.
The two molecules are the largest yet discovered in deep space.
Dr Belloche and his colleague Robin Garrod at Cornell University in New York have collected nearly 4,000 distinct signals from the cloud but have only analysed around half of these.
“So far, we have identified around 50 molecules in our survey, and two of those had not been seen before,” said Belloche.
The latest discoveries have boosted the researchers’ morale because the molecules are as large as the simplest amino acid, glycine.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are widely seen as being critical for complex life to exist anywhere in the universe. (ANI)
- Two highly complex organic molecules detected in space - Apr 21, 2009
- Stars forming 'much more rapidly than previously believed' - Dec 17, 2010
- 'Coreshine' offers insight into stellar births - Sep 24, 2010
- Astronomers find hot water vapour around a carbon star - Sep 15, 2010
- Hubble telescope spots dwarf galaxies - Nov 11, 2011
- New star-forming regions in Milky Way discovered - May 27, 2010
- Asteroid shows power to synthesise life's essential chemicals - May 05, 2011
- Astronomers to search for precursors to life in cosmic dust - May 06, 2009
- Indian scientist examines possibility of life on planets other than Earth - Dec 25, 2009
- Astronomers discover elusive buckyballs in space - Jul 23, 2010
- Telescope captures star-forming region - Lagoon Nebula - Jan 06, 2011
- A spiral picture-perfect galaxy! - Feb 03, 2011
- Astronomers witness birth of a star - Jun 18, 2010
- Most-complex organic molecules found in interstellar space - Jun 22, 2010
- The hidden side of star formation revealed - May 07, 2010
Tags: amino acids, arnaud, astronomer, astronomers, dense region, dust cloud, electromagnetic radiation, ethyl formate, flavour, gas cloud, holy grail, interstellar space, max planck, max planck institute, milky way, newborn star, radio astronomy, radio telescope, raspberries, spac