Methyl Oxirane in the ISM

The ring molecule methyl oxirane, CH3CHCH2O, also known as propylene oxide, was detected in the envelope of the prolific high-mass star-forming region Sagittarius B2(N) by
B. A. McGuire, P. B. Carroll, R. A. Loomis, I. A. Finneran, P. R. Jewell, A. R. Remijan, and G. A. Blake,
Discovery of the Interstellar Chiral Molecule Propylene Oxide (CH3CHCH2O)
Science 352, 1449 (2016).
Three rQ0 transition were detected in absorption; those with J = 2 and 3 near 12.84 and 14.05 GHz, respectively, were detected with the GBT 100 m dish, the Parkes 65 m dish was employed for the one with J = 1 near 12.07 GHz. Velocity issues were explained. The number of transitions may appear small, but the astronomical spectrum is relatively sparse in lines. More importantly, the inferred rotational temperature is about 5 K, appropriate for this less dense environment.
The molecule is the first chiral molecule detected unambiguously, which explains publication in a slightly higher impact journal. NRAO issued a press release.


Contributor(s): H. S. P. Müller; 06, 2016