New Interstellar Molecule
Click on Image to enlarge. An electron attaches itself to the C8H molecule, freeing a burst of radiation (overall glow seen around the molecule) and leaving the negatively-charged ion C8H-. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF
Astronomers using data from the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have found the largest negatively-charged molecule yet seen in space. The discovery of the third negatively-charged molecule, called an anion, in less than a year and the size of the latest anion will force a drastic revision of theoretical models of interstellar chemistry.
A team of scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) found negatively-charged octatetraynyl in a cold, dark cloud of molecular gas. A second team headed by Remijan found octatetraynyl in the envelope of gas around an old, evolved star. In both cases the molecule, a chain of eight carbon atoms and one hydrogen atom, had an extra electron, giving it a negative charge.
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