Glossary term: Astrochemistry

Description: Astrochemistry is a branch of astronomy that combines chemistry, astronomy, and physics to explain the behavior of matter at the molecular level, under the various conditions prevailing in space. Extremes of, e.g. pressure, temperature, or radiation levels in extraterrestrial environments result in chemical elements combining and forming molecules in different ways. This diversity in harsh environments causes chemicals to behave in unexpected ways. Thus, astrochemists use electromagnetic radiation received from space to study atoms and molecules in the interstellar medium and stars (both in our Galaxy and other galaxies), and planets, and to analyze their behavior and explain their properties. As of late May 2022, more than 245 molecular compounds have been detected in the interstellar medium, circumstellar shells, and other astronomical objects.

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