Filtered By: Scitech
If you happen to like raspberries or rum—or both—you could feel at home right in the center of the Milky Way.
A recent study by astronomers checking for amino acids using a 30-meter radio telescope found ethyl formate in Sagittarius B2, a dust cloud at the center of our galaxy.
Ethyl formate is the chemical that gives raspberries their flavor, according to a report on The Guardian.
The substance also gives off a smell similar to rum, the report added.
"It does happen to give raspberries their flavor, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries," said Arnaud Belloche, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.
The astronomers used the IRAM telescope in Spain to study electromagnetic radiation from a hot dense region of Sagittarius B2 surrounding a newborn star.
Propyl cyanide too
However, the team also found evidence for the lethal chemical propyl cyanide in the cloud. The Guardian said the two molecules are the largest yet discovered in deep space.
On the other hand, Belloche and colleague Robin Garrod at Cornell University in New York have detected nearly 4,000 different signals from the cloud.
They have analyzed only half of these so far, with Belloche saying they have so far we have identified around 50 molecules in their survey.
"(A)nd two of those had not been seen before," he said.
Last year, the team discovered amino acetonitrile, a molecule that can be used to make amino acids.
The researchers are excited as the molecules are as large as the simplest amino acid, glycine.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we find an amino acid out there in the coming years," said Belloche.
However, he noted the problem in searching for complex molecules is that "the best astronomical sources contain so many different molecules that their 'fingerprints' overlap and are difficult to disentangle." — Joel Locsin/TJD, GMA News