Astronomers found ethyl alcohol in the tail of comet Lovejoy

Moscow. October 26. An international team of astronomers led by specialists from the Paris Observatory found in the gas tail of comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) 21 the presence of complex organic molecules, including ethanol and most simplest form of sugar – glycolaldehyde. This is the first in the history of the discovery of alcohol in the substance of the comet.

Scientists have observed comet Lovejoy using a 30-meter radio telescope, located in Andalusia (Spain) and owned by the Institute of millimeter radio astronomy. All observations were made between 13 and 26 January 2015, when the comet was at closest distance of 0.6 astronomical units from Earth.

Spectral analysis showed that in the dust tail of the comet contains 21 types of complex organic molecules. In addition to those already previously detected in other comets (e.g. Hale-BOPP) substances, like ethylene glycol, formic acid and acetaldehyde, the first time scientists were able to detect emission in the monosaccharide – glycolaldehyde and ethyl alcohol.

The new discovery was made possible due to the fact that the comet passed along the specific trajectory is close to Earth and close enough to the Sun to the moon are enough to heat the ice inside comets and lead to significant emissions of the substance.

Researchers believe that their discovery will give vozmozhnostyu to understand the development of our Solar system as the complex organic molecules are often found around protostars, and therefore they may eventually become material for obrazovyvaetsya and planets. Comets contain the most ancient and primitive material in the Solar system. Thus, knowing its contents, we will be able to understand more about protoplanetary disk of the young Sun.

Comet C/2014 Q2 was discovered on 17 August 2014 known Amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy from the Australian city of Brisbane. Among scientists it is known as “the catcher of the comets” because over the past eight years found five of these heavenly bodies.

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