A team of astronomers has spotted sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star, using the powerful telescope Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.
The astronomers found molecules of glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar– in the gas surrounding a young binary star, with similar mass to the Sun, called IRAS 16293-2422.
Glycolaldehyde has been seen in interstellar space before, but this is the first time it has been found so near to a Sun-like star, at distances comparable to the distance of Uranus from the Sun in the Solar System. This discovery shows that some of the chemical compounds needed for life existed in this…
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