Press Releases
Feb. 8, 2012

AKARI Finds Carbon Monoxide Molecules Embedded in Ten Million Degree Gas

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
  • Department of Astronomy, Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo
  • SETI Institute
  • NASA Ames Research Center
  • University of Western Ontario


A scientific team using the Japanese AKARI infrared space observatory finds carbon monoxide (CO) molecules in the ten million degree gas associated with the young supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). Theoretically it was neither predicted nor expected to find the carbon monoxide molecule associated with a highly energetic supernova remnant. Energetic electrons and heavy-element atoms produced by nuclear processes in supernovae should have destroyed these molecules. This finding could change our current understanding of the cycle of carbon and molecules in the interstellar gas and dust clouds.

For further information, please visit the JAXA website.