Bottoms up! Giant 'alcohol cloud' found in centre of our galaxy in world-first discovery | The Sun

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IT'S a desolate void that's colder and darker than anywhere on Earth… But at least outer space has got one thing going for it.

Scientists have discovered ALCOHOL there for the first time using powerful telescopes trained at the centre of our galaxy.

Unfortunately for booze-hungry spacefarers, however, it's not the kind that gets you drunk.

Instead, researchers found propanol – the largest alcohol molecule ever discovered in the cosmos.

The substance is used in hand-sanitiser and its discovery could shed light on the makeup of stars, comets and other space objects.

The chemical comes in two forms: Iso-propanol, which is more commonly found in hand-sanitiser, and normal propanol.

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The research, published in two studies in the journal Astronomy Astrophysics, identified isopropanol using a telescope in Chile.

It was discovered in Sagittarius B2, an enormous star-forming region near the centre of the galaxy.

B2 is nicknamed the "delivery room" because it's the birthplace of a lot of stars.

Scientists are investigating it to get a better idea of how stars are made.

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The study was penned by an international team of scientists including astronomers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Co-author Rob Garrod from the University of Virginia said: "The detection of both isomers of propanol is uniquely powerful in determining the formation mechanism of each.

"Because they resemble each other so much, they behave physically in very similar ways.

"Meaning that the two molecules should be present in the same places at the same times.

"The only open question is the exact amounts that are present – this makes their interstellar ratio far more precise than would be the case for other pairs of molecules.

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"It also means that the chemical network can be tuned much more carefully to determine the mechanisms by which they form."

While the discovery of alcohol molecules is an important piece of evidence, there is still work to be done to understand the role it plays in forming stars and comets.

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