Sugar And Space And Everything Nice

by mrcookieface on September 7, 2005 · 6 comments

in Uncategorized

Scientists in Kitt Peak, Utah have discovered the existence of the sugar molecule, glycolaldehyde lurking in the Milky Way galaxy.

What does this mean?  It means that the chemical elements of life are lurking in the cosmic dust clouds long before a planet develops.  Heady stuff, eh?

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  • David Murray

    Does any rational thinking person blindly accept stories like this as factual? 24,000 LIGHT YEARS away a MOLECULE is rotating at a certain rate and generating a radio frequency, and these folks looked through a TELESCOPE and measured this taking place…well, nevermind that a telescope (optical in nature) is being used to measure RADIO WAVES, according to this claim…the sheer degrees of scale we’re talking about here are quite literally the most far fetched I’ve ever heard to come out of the space watching community.

    Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us what it tastes like.

  • Shadow Stalker

    What’s so odd about that?  EM waves don’t lose energy as they go through the vaccuum of space, so it doesn’t really matter how far away it is.  They aren’t trying to get a detailed image of the molecules, so it doesn’t matter that they don’t have a wide viewing angle.  That telescope is almost forty years old, if they were producing bad data it would have been discussed in the journals years ago.

    And it probably tastes like any other glycolaldehyde molecule.

  • David Murray

    Re-read in the article that it was a “radio telescope,” but still…

  • David Murray

    If it loses no intensity, how do they know it came from that many light years away rather than, say, local lunar orbit range? We’re talking about an amplitude so tremendously weak in the first place that it would have to be measured in a lab to be heard…yet they claim to have heard it across the vast expanse of space…ONE molecule in motion from thousands of years ago.

  • fealty2dahriyah

    let ask mr knowitall… where is bullwinkle?

  • Shadow Stalker

    It’s not a satellite dish in some guy’s back yard, radio telescopes are connected to labs.

    Measuring the intensity wouldn’t give an accurate distance measurement anyway, because the atmosphere attenuates the signal in unpredictable ways.  More likely they just know how far away the galaxy is, or they could have used interferometry.  Read the journal article if you want to know the details.  Here’s a good intro to radio astronomy.

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