With the help of ALMA, scientists recorded chemical traces of methanol, dimethyl ether and methyl formate in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The last two molecules are the largest organic molecules ever found outside our galaxy. The infrared image on the left shows the full galaxy. In the magnified frame - the zone of star birth
The neighboring dwarf galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (BMO) is considered a primitive territory from a chemical point of view. Unlike our galaxy, it is not capable of boasting an abundance of heavy elements, such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. This means that a BMO should have a small number of complex molecules based on carbon, and early observations confirmed this.
However, the new ALMA review showed clear chemical traces of complex organic molecules — methanol, dimethyl ether, and methyl formate. The last two molecules are the largest complex molecules ever found outside the Milky Way.
Scientists have noticed a light millimeter glow of molecules emitted by two dense stellar embryos - hot nuclei. These reviews will provide a better understanding of the formation of complex organic molecules at the beginning of the universal history. BMO is one of the closest satellites of our galaxy, but researchers expect a neighbor to maintain chemical similarities with distant young galaxies from early space. At the same time refer to the absence of heavy elements (low metallicity). It takes several generations of stellar birth and death to create a galaxy with heavy elements. The young representatives did not have enough time.
It is because of the low metallicity of the LMC that opens the doors to these children's galaxies. Analysis of star formation here will allow to understand the same process, but on the territory of the early Universe.
Scientists have concentrated on the stellar region of N113 - one of the most massive and gas-rich regions of the galaxy. Early reviews of the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Observatory demonstrated an amazing concentration of young stars (protostars) glowing in infrared light. Part of the process was caused by the domino effect - the formation of massive stars activates the birth of others in neighboring areas.
ALMA was used to review several young objects in order to better understand their chemistry and dynamics. The array information unexpectedly recorded control spectral signatures of dimethyl ether and methyl formate. These molecules have never been found so far from Earth. Complex organic molecules with 6 or more atoms, including carbon, are among the main building blocks of molecules necessary for earthly life. Methanol is considered a relatively simple compound, but it affects the creation of more complex organic molecules.
If such complex molecules are easily formed around a protostar, then they should merge into a part of the protoplanetary disks of young systems. Most likely, they arrived on our planet together with comets and meteorites, which accelerated the birth of life. This suggests that the chemical basis for life forms could appear in the early history of space.