Benzonitrile Discovered in Space

  • Author:
  • Published: 12 January 2018
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
thumbnail image: Benzonitrile Discovered in Space

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic nitrogen heterocycles are abundant throughout the Universe. They emit a characteristic set of emission features in the infrared, which are observed in many space environments. However, identifying precisely which aromatic molecules are present is very difficult.

Brett McGuire, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA, USA, and colleagues have discovered benzonitrile in the interstellar medium. Hyperfine-resolved transitions of benzonitrile were found while probing a well-known nearby cloud of interstellar gas, the molecular cloud TMC-1 in the Taurus constellation, with the powerful Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. This is the first time scientists have identified an aromatic molecule in space.

Molecules in space can be observed by looking with a telescope at the light they absorb or emit when the atoms in the molecule vibrate. The team used radio astronomy, so-called spectral-stacking procedure, to detect rotational transitions of benzonitrile. To confirm their data, the team compared these data with laboratory measurements of the different rotational transitions of the molecule. By this, they were able to observe nine different rotational transitions of benzonitrile.


Article Views: 1771

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

CONNECT: on Facebook on Twitter on YouTube on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)published by Wiley-VCH