Cosmic Soup

Here’s an interesting article from Nature News (subscription may be required):

Organic compound found in the stars

Astronomers have found the largest negatively charged molecule so far seen in interstellar space. The discovery, of an organic compound, suggests that the chemical building blocks of life may be more common in the Universe than had been previously thought.

The molecule is a chain of eight carbons and a single hydrogen called the octatetraynyl anion (C8H¯). Two teams of scientists have spotted it near a dying star and in a cloud of cold gas.

The discovery, along with that of three smaller organic molecules in the past year, opens up a suite of potential chemical reactions and products. It suggests that ‘prebiotic’ molecules such as amino acids, the building blocks of protein, could form all over the Universe, says Tony Remijan, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Way cool.