An international group of researchers overseen by Arnaud Belloche announces the first sign of iso-propanol in interstellar space. Iso-Propanol is typically used as a sanitizer on Earth. It is the most significant alcohol observed till now. The observations of the star-creating region Sagittarius B2 near the center of our galaxy, where many molecules have already been observed, have made this identification possible. It is the goal of an extensive investigation of its chemical configuration with the ALMA telescope in Chile.
The exploration of molecules in space has been ongoing for more than 50 years. To date, astronomers have only recognized 276 molecules in the interstellar medium. The Cologne Database for Molecular Spectroscopy (CDMS) delivers spectroscopic data to distinguish these molecules. Data has been provided by several research groups and has been effective in their detection in numerous cases.
The objective of the current work is to interpret how organic molecules are formed in the interstellar medium, particularly in the areas where new stars are created, and how complicated these molecules can be. The primary motivation is to build a connection to the chemical composition of structures in the Solar system—for instance, comets, as delivered by the Rosetta mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko a few years back.