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. Extreme extraterrestrial conditions such as pressure, temperature, and level of radiation exposure 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 study celestial bodies, search for particles in the interstellar medium, stars, and planets, and analyze their behavior to explain their properties using light and electromagnetic radiation. As of late May 2021, more than 245 molecules have been detected in the interstellar medium or circumstellar shells.

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