Anions in Space

First Molecular Anion Identified In Space: ‘Once thought too fragile to exist in the severe environment of outer space, molecular anions may actually be ubiquitous there. For the first time, researchers have observed in astronomical clouds large amounts of a negatively charged molecule: the hexatriyne anion, or C6H (Astrophys. J. 2006, 652, L141).
Detection of the molecule in interstellar space overturns the belief that radiation would quickly strip an anion of its extra electron, yielding a radical. The finding, reported by Michael C. McCarthy, Patrick Thaddeus, and colleagues at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Mass., also solves a spectral puzzle, identifying C6H as the source of a mysterious set of rotational lines discovered in a molecular cloud over 10 years ago.
Observers say the addition of anions to the mix of known molecules in space will alter the field of interstellar chemistry. “I would say this is the most important observation since the first detection of positive ions in such clouds,” says John P. Maier, a chemistry professor at the University of Basel, in Switzerland, who has studied the spectra of C6H species.’ [Read the whole article]

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