Astronomers have found alcohol in space «hamburger» in the constellation of Orion

© Photo : Yin-Chih Tsai/Ana star Burger HH212 in OrionAstronomers have found alcohol in space «hamburger» in the constellation of Orion© Photo : Yin-Chih Tsai/ASIAA

The study of the chemical composition of the «embryo» stars HH 212 in Orion constellation that resembles a giant cosmic «hamburger», pointed out the presence of alcohol and other complex organic molecules, according to a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal.

«We were very pleased that we were able to find complex organic matter in the accretion disk of a newborn star. In the past, similar molecules were found in the area almost formed stars, we have long tried to understand, whether they arose before the birth of light, or after him. Using ALMA, we were able not only to find them only formed in the disk accretion, but also to understand where they are,» says Chin-FEI Lee (Chin-Fei Lee) from the Institute of astronomy and astrophysics of Taiwan (China).

Today scientists believe that all stars and planets are born in cold gas and dust nebulae, filled with neutral hydrogen, helium and dust. The gas in these nebulae are distributed unevenly, and after a while it starts to gather in dense clumps, a kind of «germ» of stars.

Inside their gas and dust gradually turned into a flat «pancake», the so-called accretion disk, the center of which is formed star, and on the outskirts of the planet. How occurs the disk, scientists still do not know, because he is born of the moment on a cosmic scale, and there are very short-lived.

In April of this year, astronomers have stumbled upon a very unusual example of such a disk, protostar, HH 212 in Orion constellation, not like a flat disk, and a giant bagel or a hamburger. This star, as scientists have discovered, started to form only 40 thousand years ago, forcing dozens of groups of astronomers to follow her, hoping to unlock the mysteries of the first stages of the birth of new stars.

Such observations, as told by Lee, can be conducted only in the microwave and infrared range «hamburger» star thick cocoon of dust and gas surrounding the embryo, blocks ultraviolet and visible light to the outside.

For this reason, Lee and his colleagues conducted observations for HH 212 using the ALMA telescope, a powerful microwave telescope in the world, capable of «seeing» even the cold dust particles and molecules of various gases and how they move. Monitoring their movement allows scientists to understand how newborn stars are eroding the gas of the protoplanetary disk and throw part of it in the form of a narrow beam jets, heated to very high temperatures.

Studying these gas flows, the Chinese astronomers made an unexpected discovery – they were able to detect a large number of molecules of alcohols, including methanol, and several esters in the dense gas clouds under and over the «hamburger» HH 212. These molecules, as scientists believe, are formed on the surface of ice grains in the disk accretion into the open space after the grain was melted with the light and warmth of the nascent star.

Opening them in the «hamburger» HH 212 is important for the reason that all these substances are preparations for the formation of amino acids and other «building blocks of life», of which, as planetary scientists now believe, was born to life on Earth.

The presence of complex organics in the protoplanetary disk in the earliest stages of its development suggests that conditions for the origin of life can be present in almost every star. The researchers plan to test this idea in the near future, watching other embryos of stars with ALMA and other telescopes microwave.