Ammomia (NH3) is one of the most familar molecules that is also found in space,
and it's found in many places. It was also the first molecule with more than two atoms to be detected, as
reported in 1968 by
Cheung et al., a team led by
Charles Townes, winner of
a Nobel prize in 1964 (an account the discovery of both ammonia and water from the
Hat Creek Radio Observatory appeared in an
ASP conference proceeding in 2006). The first
detection of ammonia dates from 1979, and it was very recently detected in the
Large Magellanic Cloud by
Ott et al..
Following a tentative detection of NH3 in comet
IRAS-Araki-Alcock (1983D) by
Altenhoff et al.,
ammonia was observed more conclusively in comet
Wootten et al.
Ammonia has been known to be present in the atmospheres of
Jupiter and Saturn and of
Nepture for a number of years.
There is now evidence for ammonia on Titan,
and it's thought NH3
may have been source of the N that makes up Titan's N2 atmosphere.
UPDATE (July 2018): Ammonia was detected in the protoplanetary disk
TW Hydrae by
Salinas et al. in 2016.
Ammonia is known for its pungent odor,
as in the solvated form (ammonium hydroxide)
encountered in glass cleaner.