Science Highlight




Complex Organic Molecules in a Planet-Forming Disk


Fig: Integrated intensity maps of the 0.9 mm continuum emission and emission from several COMs.

Brunken et al.¬†(2022, A&A 659, A29) have detected Complex Organic Molecules (COMs) in the highly asymmetric planet-forming disk around the young star IRS48. The disk around this star has a very¬†pronounced ‚Äėdust and ice trap‚Äô where material accumulates, and future planet(esimals) may form. Brunken et al. report the first detection of dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3) vapor in a planet-forming disk, and a tentative¬†detection of methyl formate (CH3OCHO) vapor. The presence of these molecules shows that a wide variety of oxygen-carrying COMs are present in the birth environment of planets. As this study illustrates,¬†wherever ALMA turns its ‚Äėeye‚Äô, atoms and molecules leap out at us.