Revealing the Science Behind Ant Stings: Seen around Two Stars

Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have made a groundbreaking discovery of complex organic molecules around two young stars, IRAS 2A and IRAS 23385, which have not yet formed planets. The molecules, including acetic acid, ethanol, formic acid, sulfur dioxide, methane, and formaldehyde, could potentially play a crucial role in the formation of habitable worlds.

The findings have intrigued astronomers as they provide insight into the early stages of planet formation and the potential incorporation of these molecules into planets. The discovery may also shed light on the early history of our solar system, giving clues to what was present when the sun and planets were just beginning to take shape.

These complex organic molecules are believed to be created through sublimation of ices in space, suggesting that solid-phase chemical reactions on the surfaces of cold dust grains can lead to the formation of these compounds. Understanding how these molecules become incorporated into planets is essential for understanding the process of planetary formation.

The results of the study detailing the new protostar findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The team dedicated their research to study coauthor Harold Linnartz, a world leader in laboratory studies of gaseous and icy molecules in interstellar space, who tragically passed away shortly after the paper’s acceptance.

Overall, this discovery of complex organic molecules around young protostars opens up new avenues for research and understanding in the field of astronomy. It provides valuable insights into the potential role of these molecules in the formation of habitable worlds and the early stages of planet formation.

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About the Author: Jeremy Smith

"Infuriatingly humble bacon aficionado. Problem solver. Beer advocate. Devoted pop culture nerd."

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