Read the blog | Make your own posters | Most viewed posters | Latest posters

Follow @flipvine on twitter

Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

Weird but true: Interstellar Clouds of Ethyl Alcohol

August 18th, 2009 02:28pm by flipvine

No wonder the first human in space was a Russian.

Folks, believe it or not, there’s whole interstellar clouds of ethyl alcohol out there in space.  This isn’t a very recent discovery, but in my opinion its one of the most well-kept secrets in all Astro-Physics.  Here are some interesting quotes:

Ethyl alcohol was first detected in the interstellar medium in 1975 by a team led by Ben Zuckerman, but proved elusive in subsequent searches.

Ben, you devil.. you drank it all, didn’t you?

In a recent article, they show that in Orion the spatial distribution of ethyl alcohol is similar to that of other, large oxygen-bearing molecules such as methanol, methyl formate and dimethyl ether and is associated with a hot core called the Compact Ridge cloud.

Yep, folks, there’s watering holes out there in the cold darkness of space.  Of course you’re likely to need some sort of space-distillery to get other nasty stuff like methanol, hydrogen cyanide, specs of interstellar dust, etc., out of the mix.  Otherwise you might get a pretty nasty hangover ;) But it does exist – in a gaseous state (or at least that’s the only state we can detect).  Here’s another quote:

Using data collected by researchers at Ohio State University, astronomers have found vast quantities of pure alcohol in an interstellar cloud some 10,000 light years from Earth.

Scientists said the cloud, located near the constellation Aquila, contains enough alcohol to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

fail-owned-pregnancy-alcohol-failWhat’s interesting is that ethanol seems to hang around near stellar nurseries.  Which proves the old joke: “Warning, alcohol may cause pregnancy”.

Who knows, perhaps some day in the far future, when faster-than-light travel is possible, space-faring party-goers might make stopovers in clouds of interstellar dust to concentrate some ethyl alcohol shots.

While writing this post, and having a conversation with a fellow alcohol connoisseur, I was privy to the following excellent quote, enjoy it:

“This is where I hope to go when I die – to that great big alcohol cloud in the sky”. -Anonymous

And if you’re wondering where the images in this post came from, the warning sign is from failblog. And the excellent image at the beginning of the post (with slight enhancement using a technique called alky-vision) is the Orion Nebula as viewed by the Hubble telescope on the Astronomy Picture of the Day site.

Popularity: 34%