One Thousand Scents

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Galactic Alcoholic

Now this is what science is all about.

A recent article in The Guardian begins with the following sentence:

Astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it tastes vaguely of raspberries.

There's more:

In the latest survey, astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy. While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavour of raspberries.

"It does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries," Arnaud Belloche, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, told the Guardian.

Curiously, ethyl formate has another distinguishing characteristic: it also smells of rum.


In other words, this

is the centre of the galaxy.

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