J J Wiseman and P T P Ho of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Massachusetts, US, have reported the presence of a remarkable system of filaments of molecular gas behind the Great Nebula of the Orion constellation; this constellation is one of the most studied star formation regions in space. Using the very large array radio telescope, the researchers have looked at the spectrum of ammonia in the centimetre wavelength and discovered the filaments. These filaments extend from about a twentieth of a light year to three light years. The discovery will have an important bearing on our understanding of the process of star formation, which regulates the chemical composition of galaxies ( Nature , Vol 382, No 6587).
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