Meet The Oldest Molecule in The Universe

Science Fields

Helium Hydride, considered to be the first molecule in the universe has been observed for the first time in space.

In the beginning, the universe was composed of mostly hydrogen and helium and these charged molecules (Helium Hydride), each made up of a neutral helium atom and a positive hydrogen atom, could only be created by the collision of these two elements.

Helium Hydride molecules thought to have emerged 100.000 years after the Big Bang could be created in the laboratory for a while, however, they have not been observed in space until now.

In a new study published on April 17, astronomers used a high-tech telescope mounted on an aircraft called SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) to detect HeH + emitted by the cloud of gas surrounding a dying star 3,000 light-years away.

While HeH + holds limited importance on Earth today, its discovery is important since the chemistry of the universe began with this ion.

If HeH + was not observed in the universe, this could be an important sign affecting all scientific fields as well as the Big Bang theory, shedding doubt on calculations. Luckily, this latest discovery does not leave any room for doubt.

HeH + is known as the strongest acid in the world and it was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1925. Since it is made up of two of the most abundant elements in the universe to emerge from the nuclear reactor of the Big Bang, scientists have long believed that Helium Hydride is the first molecule to form as the cooling of the universe allows protons, neutrons, and electrons to stay together in an atom.

It is not surprising that the tracks of Helium Hydride have been found at NGC7027. This means that the young nebulae of gas, carrying some of the characteristics of the universe in its early stages, create the necessary conditions for these molecules to form.


  • 1. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/first-type-molecule-form-universe-has-been-seen-space
  • 2. https://www.livescience.com/65256-first-molecule-in-the-universe.html