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Herschel Telescope Detects Oxygen Molecules In Space

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09/03/2011 05:40 PM
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Herschel Telescope Detects Oxygen Molecules In Space
The Herschel Space Observatory's large telescope and state-of-the-art infrared detectors have provided the first confirmed finding of oxygen molecules in space. The molecules were discovered in the Orion star-forming complex.

Individual atoms of oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. But, molecular oxygen, which makes up about 20 percent of the air we breathe, has eluded astronomers until now.

"Oxygen gas was discovered in the 1770s, but it's taken us more than 230 years to finally say with certainty that this very simple molecule exists in space," said Paul Goldsmith, NASA's Herschel project scientist at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

[link to www.astrobiology.com]

interesting! it says later that "This explains where some of the oxygen might be hiding," said Goldsmith. "But we didn't find large amounts of it, and still don't understand what is so special about the spots where we find it. The universe still holds many secrets."

I wonder if the places that they are finding Oxygen is close to planets that have oxygen in it's atmosphere? I remember reading an article once that Earth has been leaking oxygen into space through the holes in our atmoshperes, wouldn't it make sense that we are now finding oxygen in "random" places because they aren't so random. I am inclined to think if our Earth can leak oxygen into space then other planets that are rich in it can as well