Universe’s first molecule detected in space
A few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang, the hot, young soup of our universe cooled enough for the smallest building blocks of life to combine into atoms for the first time. One balmy, 6,700-degree-Fahrenheit day (3,700 degrees Celsius), a helium atom glommed onto a single proton — actually a positively charged hydrogen ion — and the universe's very first molecule was formed: helium hydride, or HeH+.

Scientists have studied lab-made versions of this primordial molecule for nearly a century, but they have never found traces of it in our modern universe — until now. In a new study published yesterday (April 17) in the journal Nature, astronomers report on their use of an airborne telescope to detect HeH+ smoldering in the cloud of gas around a dying star some 3,000 light-years away.

According to the researchers, this discovery, which has been more than 13 billion years in the making, shows conclusively that HeH+ is formed naturally in conditions similar to those found in the early universe.

Read more: https://www.livescience.com/65256-first-molecule-in-the-universe.html
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