Discovery of the Interstellar Chiral Molecule Propylene Oxide (CH3CHCH2O)

©astro-ph.GA

Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules, that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself in the selection of a single molecular handedness, or homochirality, across the biosphere.

We present the astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O), in absorption toward the Galactic Center. Propylene oxide is detected in the gas phase in a cold, extended molecular shell around the embedded, massive protostellar clusters in the Sagittarius B2 star-forming region. This material is representative of the earliest stage of solar system evolution in which a chiral molecule has been found.

Brett A. McGuire, P. Brandon Carroll, Ryan A. Loomis, Ian A. Finneran, Philip R. Jewell, Anthony J. Remijan, Geoffrey A. Blake
(Submitted on 23 Jun 2016)

Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Journal reference: Science 2016, 352, 1449
DOI: 10.1126/science.aae0328
Cite as: arXiv:1606.07483 [astro-ph.GA) (or arXiv:1606.07483v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Brett McGuire
[v1] Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:24:59 GMT (2460kb,D)
http://arxiv.org/abs/1606.07483

Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.


  • submit to reddit