Astronomers have discovered the first negatively charged molecule in space, identifying it from radio signals that were a mystery until now. While about 130 neutral and 14 positively charged molecules are known to exist in interstellar space, this is the first negative molecule, or anion, to be found.
McCarthy worked with CfA colleagues Carl Gottlieb, Harshal Gupta (also from the Univ. of Texas), and Patrick Thaddeus to identify the molecular anion known as C6H-: a linear chain of six carbon atoms with one hydrogen atom at the end and an "extra" electron. Such molecules were thought to be extremely rare because ultraviolet light that suffuses space easily knocks electrons off molecules. The large size of C6H-, larger than most neutral and all positive molecules known in space, may increase its stability in the harsh cosmic environment.
Eli ensimmäinen negatiivisesti varautunut molekyyli on löydetty avaruudesta. Kyseessä olevaa C6H molekyyliä löydettiin kahdesta eri kohteesta, punaisen jättiläistähden IRC+10216 kaasukuoresta ja molekyylipilvestä TMC-1. Mitäs muita molekyylejä sitten on löydetty, tietääkö kukaan? Jotain sokereita nyt ainakin.
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