October 2007

Acetaldehyde

The initial detection of acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) involved observations of three rotational lines in Sgr B2 by different groups over several years: Gottlieb in 1973, Fourikis et al. in 1974, and Gilmore et al. in 1976. It was detected in cold clouds, TMC-1 and L134N, in 1985 by Matthews et al.

Acetaldehyde is a close cousin of the common astromolecule formaldehyde and possesses similar chemistry. For example, it should also be very reactive with ammonia in icy grain mantles. Another cousin of acetaldehyde is acetone.

Acetaldehyde is used extensively in the chemical industry. It has a fruity aroma.


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