Sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star

A team of astronomers has found molecules of glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar — in the gas surrounding a young binary star, with similar mass to the Sun, called IRAS 16293-2422. This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star. The astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect the molecules.

This image shows the Rho Ophiuchi star-forming region in infrared light, as seen by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WISE). IRAS 16293-2422 is the red object in the centre of the small square. The inset image is an artist’s impression of glycolaldehyde molecules, showing glycolaldehyde’s molecular structure (C2H4O2). Carbon atoms are shown as grey, oxygen atoms as red, and hydrogen atoms as white.

In the WISE infrared image of Rho Ophiuchi, blue and cyan represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 micrometres, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 micrometres, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.


ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Calçada (ESO) & NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

Об изображении

Дата выпуска релиза [date]:29 августа 2012 г. 12:00
Связанные релизы:eso1234
Размер:10282 x 10100 px

Об объекте

Название:IRAS 16293-2422, Molecules
Тип:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Protostar
Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Disk : Protoplanetary
Расстояние:400 световых лет

Форматы изображений

Цвета и фильтры

ДиапазонДлина волныТелескоп
Инфракрасный3.4 μm Other
Инфракрасный4.6 μm Other
Инфракрасный12 μm Other
Инфракрасный22 μm Other