IRAS 16293-2422

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This video starts with a broad panorama of the spectacular central regions of the Milky Way seen in visible light. It then zooms in to the Rho Ophiuchi star-forming region in infrared light, highlighting IRAS 16293-2422. Finally, we see an artist's impression of glycolaldehyde molecules, showing glycolaldehyde's molecular structure (C2H4O2).
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0
Right ascension
Other designations

IRAS 16293-2422 is a binary protostar,[1] with similar mass to the Sun.[2] It is located in the Rho Ophiuchi star-forming region. Astronomers using the ALMA array found glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar — in the gas surrounding the star.[3] This discovery was the first time sugar has been found in space around a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life may in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.

The accretion disk was found to have parts rotating in opposite directions,[4] the first time such a discovery has been made, and means that when planets form, the inner planets will orbit the opposite direction to the outer planets.[5]


  1. ^ Wootten, Alwyn (1989). "The Duplicity of IRAS 16293-2422: A Protobinary Star?". The Astrophysical Journal 337: 858. Bibcode:1989ApJ...337..858W. doi:10.1086/167156. ISSN 0004-637X. 
  2. ^ Ceccarelli, C.; Castets, A.; Caux, E.; Hollenbach, D.; Loinard, L.; Molinari, S.; Tielens, A. G. G. M. (2000). "The structure of the collapsing envelope around the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293-2422". Astronomy & Astrophysics 355: 1129–1137. Bibcode:2000A&A...355.1129C. ISSN 0004-6361. 
  3. ^ "Sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star". ESO. 
  4. ^ IRAS 16293-2422: Evidence for Infall onto a Counterrotating Protostellar Accretion Disk, Anthony J. Remijan and J. M. Hollis , Received 2005 October 11; accepted 2005 December 2, The Astrophysical Journal, 640:842-848, 2006 April 1
  5. ^ Still-Forming Solar System May Have Planets Orbiting Star in Opposite Directions, Astronomers Say, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, February 13, 2006