In space, he found the oldest type of molecule in the universe.


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Scientists believe that helium hydride played a decisive role in the formation of the early universe.

REUTERS illustration

REUTERS illustration

The discovery of the oldest type of molecule in the Universe confirms theories about the development of chemistry in the early days after the Big Bang. It is believed that a positively charged molecule called helium hydride (HeH +) has played a key role early in the story, having formed after the helium atom has separated its electrons with a hydrogen proton.

This interaction led to the appearance of the first molecule and chemical compound in the Universe. In addition, its appearance at the time of cooling after the Big Bang paved the way for the formation of hydrogen molecules.

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According to The Guardian, helium hydride has been synthesized in the laboratory for almost a hundred years. But in space before that time was not found, despite predictions that it should be contained in the gas clouds from which the stars originate. In addition, the helium hydride should be contained in the gas that appears after the death of the star.

"Although the importance of the molecule on Earth today is limited, the chemistry of the Universe began precisely with this ion. The lack of precise evidence of its existence in interstellar space has created a dilemma for astronomy," the authors explain.

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Now the scientists say they have finally found a compound in a small but bright 600-year planetary nebula for three thousand light years from the constellation Cygnus. And although the detected helium hydride has been formed as a result of processes other than the initial Universe, the team of researchers is convinced that it still confirms theories about the "origin of chemistry" and completes the study, which lasted for decades.

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