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Astronomers find new evidence of Organic Molecules in nearby Galaxy

Published: 09 JULY 2018 20:23PM

Words by AC Speed | Senior Editor


A study led by the researcher of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) Ana Monreal Ibero proves the presence of organic molecules in galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

A paper titled, ‘Diffuse interstellar bands λ5780 and λ5797 in the Antennae Galaxy as seen by MUSE’ published in the Worldwide astronomical and astrophysical research journal, on 6th July, has found evidence of organic material present in an alien galaxy, approximately 60 million light years from Earth.

By analyzing Diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs), the team was able to determine what parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, emitted by the galaxy, could only be explained by the presence of organic material.

The team used the MUSE instrument, and the VLT to carry out the analysis in the Antennae Galaxies.

"To our knowledge, we have derived the first maps for the DIBs at λ5780 and λ5797 in galaxies outside the Local Group."

These findings are important as it suggests complex organisms may well be able to develop outside of our own galaxy, increasing the probability that alien life is out there, somewhere.

Have we found alien life outside of our own galaxy?

We’ve essentially looked at the composition of another object in the universe and by looking at the spectrum of light it emits, we can determine the chemical composition of the object. In this case, we’ve simply found Organic Material that is more complex than a singular molecule.

What are the Antennae Galaxies?

The Antennae Galaxies, also known as NGC 4038/NGC 4039, are a pair of interacting galaxies in the constellation Corvus. They are currently undergoing a cosmic collision of gas, and dust.

These galaxies were separate about 1.8 billion years ago and it is thought that our very own Milky Way Galaxy will suffer the same fate in a few billion years.

What will alien life look like?

It’s hard to say, considering how many different variations of life we have here on Earth, it could take on an incomprehensible number of forms, many which we probably won’t even recognise.

Life on Earth is comprised of complex organic carbon molecules, and it’s very possible that evidence of complex organic material outside of our own galaxy could be proof that life can easily evolve in other parts of the universe.

Media Resource://abs/2018/07/aa32178-17

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