Animated view of phosphorus-bearing molecules found in a star-forming region and comet 67P

This animation shows the key results from a study that has revealed the interstellar thread of phosphorus, one of life’s building blocks. 

Thanks to ALMA, astronomers could pinpoint where phosphorus-bearing molecules form in star-forming regions like AFGL 5142. The background of this animation shows a part of the night sky in the constellation of Auriga, where the star-forming region AFGL 5142 is located. The ALMA image of this object appears on the top left, and one of the locations where the team found phosphorus-bearing molecules is indicated by a circle. The most common phosphorus-bearing molecule in AFGL 5142 is phosphorus monoxide, represented in orange and red in the diagram that appears on the bottom left. Another molecule found was phosphorus nitride, represented in orange and blue. 

Using data from the ROSINA instrument onboard ESA’s Rosetta, astronomers also found phosphorus monoxide on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which appears on the bottom right at the end of the video. This first sighting of phosphorus monoxide on a comet helps astronomers draw a connection between star-forming regions, where the molecule is created, all the way to Earth, where it played a crucial role in starting life.


ESO/M. Kornmesser/L.Calçada; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Rivilla et al.; ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; Mario Weigand,

O filmie

Data publikacji:15 stycznia 2020 12:00
Powiązane komunikaty:eso2001
Czas trwania:17 s
Frame rate:25 fps

O obiekcie

Typ:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Comet
Kategoria:Solar System

Ultra HD (info)



2,6 MB

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