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Astronomers discover largest molecule yet in a planet-forming disc

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory have detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc for the first time.

Molecules

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands have for the first time detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc. With nine atoms, this is the largest molecule identified in such a disc to date. It is also a precursor of larger organic molecules that can lead to the emergence of life.

The team is composed of Nashanty G. C. Brunken (Leiden Observatory, Leiden University,  Netherlands [Leiden]), Alice S. Booth (Leiden), Margot Leemker (Leiden), Pooneh Nazari (Leiden),  Nienke van der Marel (Leiden),  Ewine F. van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory, Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany)

Read more about the molecule discovery