Science: Molecules Between the Stars

Scientists once believed that the vast expanse between the stars was totally devoid of any kind of matter. But in the past few decades, they have been forced to change their minds. Besides confirming the presence of hydrogen and other earthly elements with optical and radio telescopes, astronomers have lately discovered a number of complex molecules in interstellar space: water, ammonia, formaldehyde and pairs of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that are ingredients of many other chemical combinations. Now the list has been further expanded. Researchers at the Bell Telephone Labs have detected large...

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