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Extensive Chemical Composition Mapping Reveals Carbon-Rich, Organic Birth Environments of Planets

An international collaboration of scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has completed the most extensive chemical composition mapping of the protoplanetary disks around five nearby young stars at high resolution, producing images that capture the molecular composition associated with planetary births, and a roadmap for future studies of the makeup of planet- and comet-forming regions. The results of the program, appropriately called MAPS, or Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales, will appear in an upcoming 20-paper special edition of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. “Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales (MAPS) IX: “Distribution and properties of the large organic molecules HC3N, CH3CN, and c-C3H2,” J.

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