The first molecule formed in the universe – helium hydride or HeH + – was detected for the first time in space, a new study reports.
The elusive molecule was found in the young planet NGC 7027 HeH + is formed by a white dwarf star.
About 13 billion years ago, this molecular bond would have formed as positively charged particles in combination with hydrogen atoms in the early cooling universe.
The discovery was made with a telescope with a special aircraft in the earth's atmosphere and carried over its signal-damping effects.
The finding, cited by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, ends the search for the molecule that began in the late 1
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The first molecule formed in the universe – helium hydride or HeH + – was detected First reported in space a new study
As the early universe 13 billion years ago under 4,000 ° K cooled, the light elements produced from the Big Bang began to unite
It is believed that neutral helium atoms and ionized hydrogen or protons reacted to HeH + ions.
This would have been the first kind of molecular bonding that could ever form in the universe.
have finally reacted with neutral hydrogen and paved the way for the formation of molecular hydrogen – and the beginning of the universe, as we know it today.
Despite its importance in the history of the Universe, and having been successfully synthesized in the laboratory for the first time in 1925, it attempts to find the molecule. The Universe itself had not previously been successful.
Hunting began in the late 1970s, when chemical models suggested that HeH + could be present in detectable amounts in nearby interstellar nebulae.
"The chemistry of the universe began with HeH +," said lead author and astrophysicist Rolf Güsten of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany.
"The lack of definitive evidence for its existence in interstellar space has long been a dilemma for astronomy."
About 13 billion However, years ago, helium hydride would be the case formed as protons first combined with hydrogen atoms in an early, cooling universe (picture in the artist's impression)
The failure to find the naturally formed HeH + in space had the understanding that ha The chemical processes that were supposed to have formed in the early individual
However, previous hunts were only unsuccessful because the available spectrometer technology all had too limited resolving power at the relevant wavelengths in which the molecule would be found.
With new technology, the search is finally over.
The discovery was made using a telescope, which is carried by a special aircraft (shown with the telescope through the open door in the rear fuselage of the aircraft) and its signal-damping effect in the earth's atmosphere
SOFIA (pictured in an artistic impression showing the interior of the vehicle) can over fly most of the water vapor in the atmosphere, the presence of some infrared signals d aran prevents it from reaching the ground
Dr. Güsten and colleagues from the MPIfR joined forces Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Universities of Cologne and the Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany as well as the Institute for Millimeterradioastronomie in France.
The international team used the German high-resolution receiver for astronomy on the terahertz frequency spectrometer (GREAT) to record the infrared signals emitted by helium hydride ions.
The device GREAT is located on the boar d The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a modified Boeing 747 aircraft carrying a reflector telescope.
The scientific research vessel is operated by NASA and the German Aerospace Center.
SOFIA can fly over the majority of the water vapor in the atmosphere, whose presence prevents some infrared signals from the ground.
"With recent advances in terahertz technologies, it has now become possible to perform high-resolution spectroscopy at the required far-infrared wavelength." Güsten added.
The BIG device is on board the Stratospheric Ob Servatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a modified Boeing 747 aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope  Analyzing data from three SOFIA flights, the researchers found clear evidence of HeH + atoms in the direction of planetary nebula NGC 7027.
About 3,000 light years from Earth, NGC 7027 is a young, dense and small nebula who is in the constellation of Cygnus.
The NGC 7027 age made it a likely candidate in which HeH + could be found since there are similar conditions to those found in the early Universe.
"The discovery of HeH + is a dramatic and beautiful demonstration of nature's tendency to form molecules," said paper author and molecular astrophysicist David Neufeld of Johns Hopkins University.
"Despite the intransigence available ingredients, a mixture of hydrogen with the unreactive noble gas helium and a harsh environment at thousands of degrees Celsius – a fragile molecule is forming. " NGC 7027 is located about 3,000 light-years from Earth and is a young, dense and small nebula located in the constellation of Cygnus. NGC 7027's young age made it a likely candidate in which HeH + could be found because it holds similar conditions as in the early Universe. ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
NGC 7027 is about 3,000 light-years from Earth and is a young, dense and small nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. NGC 7027's young age made it a likely candidate in which HeH + could be found because it holds similar conditions as in the early Universe.
Planetary nebulas like NGC 7027 are produced by sun-like stars in the final stages of their lives. where they emit large quantities of material to leave behind a dense hot core – a so-called "white dwarf".
The radiation emanating from such stars, whose temperatures are around 100,000 ° C, causes the cause The ejected shell of the star is ionized.
Here HeH + can form.
The molecule can be detected by suitable telescopes thanks to its characteristic light emission, which is strongest at a wavelength of 0.149 millimeters.
This wavelength can not penetrate far enough into the absorbent layers of the lower Earth's atmosphere to reach ground-based observatories.
This partly explains why HeH + has so far only been detected with the SOFIA telescope in the air.
T The full results of the study were published in Nature.
WHAT IS THE BIG BANG THEORY?
The Big Bang theory is a cosmological model, a theory that describes the beginning and evolution of our universe.
The universe is said to be in a very hot and dense state before it began to grow 13.7 billion years ago.
This theory is based on fundamental observations.
In 1920, Hubble discovered that the distance between galaxies increased throughout the universe.
The Big Bang theory is a cosmological model, a theory that describes the beginning and evolution of our universe observations – including the cosmic background radiation (pictured), which looks like a radiation fossil emitted at the beginning of the universe as it hot and dense
This means that galaxies must be closed 19659002] In 1964, Wilson and Penzias discovered the cosmic background radiation that resembles a fossil radiation fossil emitted at the beginning of the universe when it was hot and dense.
The cosmic background radiation can be observed everywhere in the universe.
The composition of the universe – that is, the number of atoms of different elements – agrees with the Big Bang theory.
So far, this theory may be the only one that can explain why we observe a wealth of primordial elements in the universe.