June 16, 2024

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Buried in the Cat's Claw Nebula is one of the largest space particles ever seen

Buried in the Cat's Claw Nebula is one of the largest space particles ever seen

Scientists have discovered a hitherto unknown space particle while examining a region relatively close to condensed star birth, a cosmic speck about 5,550 light-years away. It is part of the Cat's Claw Nebula, also known as NGC 6334.

The team, led by Zachary Freed, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined a section of the nebula known as NGC 6334I using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This revealed the presence of a complex molecule known as 2-methoxyethanol, which had never before been seen in the natural world, although its properties had been simulated in laboratories on Earth.