The first Big Bang molecule was found in the universe


When 13.8 billion years ago the universe originated from the Big Bang, the chemical reactions that occurred resulted in the creation of the first molecules. They were decisive in shaping everything we know, but in modern history we have not been able to detect them for long.

Although heH +, or helium ion hydride was thought to have been the first mysterious molecule for years, scientists have never been able to find evidence of its existence – so far, CNN writes.

After the Big Bang, atoms and helium protons were fused and the HeH + molecule was formed. Later, it spread to hydrogen molecules and helium atoms, the most predominant elements in the universe.

Scientists had already created a helium hydride ion in the laboratory under controlled conditions in 1925, prompting the scientific community for decades to look for that molecule in its natural environment, that is, in the universe, according to the index.

"The chemistry of the universe itself began with HeH +. For a long time, astronomers are discussing the reasons why this molecule can not be detected in interstellar space," said astronomer Rolf G├╝sten of the Max Plank Institute.

According to the astronomical model of the late 1970s, these molecules should still be in chaotic planetary nebulae that cast stars into extinction during the final phase of their lives before they explode in the supernova.

HeH + occurs when the radiation of a star, reaching temperatures in excess of 100,000 degrees, ionizes the nebula. However, discovering or perceiving these molecules was not an easy task for scientists. Because of Earth's atmosphere that made detection difficult, they could not use telescopes on Earth.

For this reason, scientists opted for the Stratospheric Infrared Astronomy Observatory, which can fly above the lower atmosphere. The great pleasure of the high resolution astronomical spectrometer called GREAT, located in SOFIA, detected the long-sought molecule in the planetary nebula NGC 7027.

"The discovery of the HeH molecule is a dramatic and beautiful demonstration of nature's inclination to form molecules," said David Newfield, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University.

The study "Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH +" was published in the journal Nature.

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