All things weird and wonderful, 28

11 01 2013

Galaxy’s centre tastes of raspberries and smells of rum, say astronomers

How is this not among the best news in, um, the galaxy?

Astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it would taste vaguely of raspberries.

Ian Sample of the Guardian reports that after years of pointing their telescope into the nether regions of the ‘verse,

astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy. While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavour of raspberries.

“It does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries,” Arnaud Belloche, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, told the Guardian.

Curiously, ethyl formate has another distinguishing characteristic: it also smells of rum.

I’m a gin and whisky woman, myself, but still. . . .

(Whoops, forgot to note: h/t Charlie Pierce)