Astronomers have spotted the universe’s first molecule

Oct 2010
68,112
27,933
Colorado
#1
It's the strongest acid known.

Astronomers have spotted the universe’s first molecule

The universe’s very first molecule, thought to be created after the big bang, has been detected in space for the first time. Helium hydride (HeH), a combination of helium and hydrogen, was spotted some 3000 light-years from Earth by an instrument aboard the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope built into a converted 747 jet that flies above the opaque parts of Earth’s atmosphere.

HeH has long been thought to mark the “dawn of chemistry,” as the remnants of the big bang cooled to about 4000 K and ions began to team up with electrons to form neutral atoms. Researchers believe that in that primordial gas, neutral helium reacted with hydrogen ions to form the first chemical bond joining the very first molecule.

More: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/astronomers-have-spotted-universe-s-first-molecule

Helium hydride:

The hydrohelium(1+) cation, HeH+, also known as the helium hydride ion or helium-hydride molecular ion, is a positively chargedion formed by the reaction of a proton with a helium atom in the gas phase, first produced in the laboratory in 1925. It is isoelectronic with molecular hydrogen.[2] It is the strongest known acid, with a proton affinity of 177.8 kJ/mol.[3] It has been suggested since the 1970s that HeH+ should occur naturally in the interstellar medium; its first unequivocal astrophysical detection was reported in 2019.[4][5] It is the simplest heteronuclear ion, and is comparable with the hydrogen molecular ion, H+
2. Unlike H+2, however, it has a permanent dipole moment, which makes its spectroscopic characterization easier.[6] The calculated dipole moment of HeH+ is 2.26 or 2.84.[7]

Helium hydride ion - Wikipedia
 
Apr 2014
3,170
1,371
redacted
#2
Good find. I'm guessing these molecules aren't concentrated in masses strong enough to exhibit their acidic properties.
 
Apr 2013
38,370
26,351
La La Land North
#3
It's the strongest acid known.

Astronomers have spotted the universe’s first molecule

The universe’s very first molecule, thought to be created after the big bang, has been detected in space for the first time. Helium hydride (HeH), a combination of helium and hydrogen, was spotted some 3000 light-years from Earth by an instrument aboard the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope built into a converted 747 jet that flies above the opaque parts of Earth’s atmosphere.

HeH has long been thought to mark the “dawn of chemistry,” as the remnants of the big bang cooled to about 4000 K and ions began to team up with electrons to form neutral atoms. Researchers believe that in that primordial gas, neutral helium reacted with hydrogen ions to form the first chemical bond joining the very first molecule.

More: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/astronomers-have-spotted-universe-s-first-molecule

Helium hydride:

The hydrohelium(1+) cation, HeH+, also known as the helium hydride ion or helium-hydride molecular ion, is a positively chargedion formed by the reaction of a proton with a helium atom in the gas phase, first produced in the laboratory in 1925. It is isoelectronic with molecular hydrogen.[2] It is the strongest known acid, with a proton affinity of 177.8 kJ/mol.[3] It has been suggested since the 1970s that HeH+ should occur naturally in the interstellar medium; its first unequivocal astrophysical detection was reported in 2019.[4][5] It is the simplest heteronuclear ion, and is comparable with the hydrogen molecular ion, H+
2. Unlike H+2, however, it has a permanent dipole moment, which makes its spectroscopic characterization easier.[6] The calculated dipole moment of HeH+ is 2.26 or 2.84.[7]

Helium hydride ion - Wikipedia
Just a bit of nit-picking here. Your post raised my hackles, but it turns out it wasn't your fault, it is the lack of subscript and superscript capability here. The formula H+2 is misleading to people with knowledge of chemical symbols. It would be better written as H2+. If, as in the original, the 2 were a subscript and the + were a superscript there would be no issue.

But more importantly, yes this is an exciting breakthrough.
 
Likes: imaginethat
Oct 2010
68,112
27,933
Colorado
#4
Just a bit of nit-picking here. Your post raised my hackles, but it turns out it wasn't your fault, it is the lack of subscript and superscript capability here. The formula H+2 is misleading to people with knowledge of chemical symbols. It would be better written as H2+. If, as in the original, the 2 were a subscript and the + were a superscript there would be no issue.

But more importantly, yes this is an exciting breakthrough.
Good point.

It's amazing noble gas compounds exist at all, especially so for Helium with its very high ionization energy.
 
Apr 2013
38,370
26,351
La La Land North
#5
Good point.

It's amazing noble gas compounds exist at all, especially so for Helium with its very high ionization energy.
If you get a gas mix at a high enough temp, all kinds of unusual things happen. That was the basis of my Ph.D. work.