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Glossary term: Molecule

Description: A molecule is a group of two or more atoms which are bound together by what are known as chemical bonds and carries zero net electric charge. In astronomy, molecules are typically present in colder regions of the cosmos. In order to form new stars, for instance, it takes molecular clouds made mostly of hydrogen atoms; a new star is formed as part of such a cloud collapses under its own gravity. Molecules can be detected in space because under the right circumstances, as they rotate or vibrate, they absorb and emit electromagnetic radiation in narrow wavelength regions, typically in the radio or infrared. These "molecular lines" form patterns that allow for the identification of a molecule.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".