Talk:List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules

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Featured list List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules is a featured list, which means it has been identified as one of the best lists produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
November 16, 2004 Peer review Reviewed
February 28, 2007 Featured list candidate Promoted
December 22, 2014 Featured list removal candidate Kept
Current status: Featured list


The list of compound names needs a thorough review by somebody knowledgeable about chemistry. Thank you. — RJH 19:46, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It also absolutely needs references to who found this molecule and when. For example, for Glycine there is extensive information in the article. Paranoid 20:14, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Every entry now has a reference. — RJH (talk) 18:35, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

whould sub atomic particles and parts of atoms fall under this catigory?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Fledgeling (talkcontribs) 22:38, 21 November 2004

Probably not. Molecule implies multiple atoms. In any case, I'm going to give this article a good once-over and check some of these. I took a quick cursory glance...You have Aluminum Fluoride as AlF, but aluminum fluoride is AlF3. EagleFalconn 00:01, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I see that this article uses in title molecules instead of compounds.-- (talk) 13:46, 4 May 2016 (UTC)


I've taken a look at the article. You've got a problem: According to the rules of computational chemistry the molecule H3+ can't exist. You've got both electrons existing in standard s orbitals, 1.333 of them are in anti-bonding orbitals. The molecule would never exist, not even for picoseconds. H3 on the other hand, would exist though only just barely and probably only under exceedingly high pressures. I would sugest attempting to find some alternative resources for this information to check accuracy. EagleFalconn 15:57, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You may be right, but there are a number of published papers on the topic. References:
&c. — RJH 22:05, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Just a quick note: this remains one of the great unsolved problems in astrochemistry. The H3+ molecule has been unequivocally observed many times, yet still cannot be properly accounted for in any chemical model. Yes, it shouldn't exist, but it does so we're obviously missing something! Modest Genius talk 16:43, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
See "protonated molecular hydrogen" which covers the topic in great detail. — RJH (talk) 14:47, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

History article[edit]

  • I really warmed to the idea of this article since for years I have been fascinated by the discovery of organic molecules in the interstellar medium. I think this article would be greatly improved by some information on the various discoveries, hypotheses on formation / origin of these molecules, perhaps even indications of distribution and concentrations. rturus 00:39, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Great. But this is just a listing. A dedicated history would be better served on a separate article page. Thanks. — RJH 22:00, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
    • P.S. A good source looks to be: Interstellar and Circumstellar Species.

GA failed[edit]

According to this criteria, the article fails, since GA does not cover lists. Consider taking it to peer review and straight to FAC. --Nehrams2020 18:15, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, since there isn't actually criteria for images, portals, and lists, then it couldn't of failed any of them per se, and they aren't really valid candidates, so i've removed the template. Homestarmy 18:56, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I put the page up as a FLC instead. — RJH (talk) 22:14, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

molecular oxygen has been discovered[edit] Thanks, CarpD 4/2/07

Thank you. — RJH (talk) 19:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Some more[edit]

  • HCP Phosphaethyne [1]
  • C4H- [2]

Modest Genius talk 19:56, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the additions. I've added them to the appropriate tables. — RJH (talk) 18:20, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Largest negatively charged molecule[edit]

It looks like negatively-charged octatetraynyl (C8H-) is already in the table. Thanks. — RJH (talk) 14:38, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Sort order?[edit]

Does anybody know the appropriate sort order for tables such as these? Up until now I had been sorting based on the molecular formula. Thanks. — RJH (talk) 16:12, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

I've added the "sortable" class so that users can automatically sort the lists by any of the three columns. Hope that helps. Mike Peel (talk) 14:43, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes that helps. Thank you.—RJH (talk) 16:41, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Neutron stability in space[edit]

Who is it that knows that that the neutron is unstable in space? Since the atoms, which were accumulated in a three dimensional process in space and have neutrons as a major constituent, and since there is considered to be a lot of unradioactive and unexplained matter in space, why couldn't there be a lot of neutrons in space taking part in the accumulation process. And with all due respect to the quark theory, the primary process might be postulated to be the accumulation of gravitons into neutrons. I dont have any references about this. WFPMWFPM (talk) 19:19, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

This page is devoted to discussions of the Wikipedia article on molecules in interstellar space. You might have better luck getting an answer to your question if you post it on the free neutron talk page. I note that that page gives t1/2 = 15 minutes for neutron decay, and that a reference is provided. That's where I would start. Good luck! - Astrochemist (talk) 12:27, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Anthracene and pyrene[edit]

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon says "a team led by A. Witt of the University of Toledo, Ohio studied ultraviolet light emitted by the Red Rectangle nebula and found the spectral signatures of anthracene and pyrene. (No other such complex molecules had ever before been found in space." Is this correct? Does it count as interstellar? --Itub (talk) 13:57, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Witt et al. found a particular type of emission, which they attributed to the release of light by PAH molecules. I doubt that "spectral signatures of anthracene and pyrene" were reported. It's an interstellar observation, but since there's no specific molecular assignment I don't see how a listing could be included on this particular web page. For more information, many of Witt's articles can be found and read through the Harvard ADS web page. -- Astrochemist (talk) 02:33, 18 July 2008 (UTC)


Can we add Napthalene to this list?

1.Iglesias-Groth et al. Evidence for the Naphthalene Cation in a Region of the Interstellar Medium with Anomalous Microwave Emission. The Astrophysical Journal, 2008; 685 (1): L55 DOI: 10.1086/592349 -- (talk) 09:26, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

It was just added yesterday. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 19:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The evidence for napthalene is generally considered to be, ah, tenuous shall we say. Note that the title of the paper is 'evidence', not 'detection'. does not include it in their 'detected' list, whilst explicitly states that it has NOT been detected. Modest Genius talk 01:02, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I moved napthalene to the "Unconfirmed" section. Thank you.—RJH (talk) 23:46, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Good move. - Astrochemist (talk) 01:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I just noticed that anthracene is listed as confirmed, that should probably also be listed as unconfirmed. Various papers have now come out disputing both detections. I'll make the changes to the page once I get some free time. Modest Genius talk 11:20, 14 September 2011 (UTC)


A few questions I encountered:

  1. Aren't Cyanohexatriyne and Cyanotriacetylene the same?
  2. What about these two?
    11 H3COC2H5 trans-ethyl methyl ether[105]
    12 CH3OC2H5 Trans-ethyl methyl ether[106]
  3. Shouldn't it be Sulfur mononitride, Hydrogen mononitride instead of Nitrogen sulfide and Nitrogen monohydride?
  4. style="text-align:center" can be used to place texts in the middle of the table, replacing all those ||align="center"|s.. --Choij (talk) 12:06, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
1 & 2) It appears that yes they are, and they should probably be merged along with their references.
3) I get fewer ghits for your suggested alternatives. There are zero scholar ghits for Sulfur mononitride, 219 for Nitrogen sulfide; zero scholar ghits for Hydrogen mononitride, 11 for Nitrogen monohydride. I'm not convinced a name change would be beneficial.
4) Yes, that would have the same effect and would make it more CSS compliant. It would also increase the page download time. Not sure I care either way, but I certainly wouldn't see a need to revert a mass edit like that.
Thanks.—RJH (talk) 17:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)


Could anyone please confirm if hexamine exists in interstellar space? Thanks. --Choij (talk) 04:04, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Searching on ADS for hexamine doesn't find much, but searching for it under its alternative name of hexamethylenetetramine gets a few more hits: [3]. However, these all seem to be reports of laboratory experiments involving analogues of interstellar ices; as far as I can see, there have been no in situ detections yet. In particular, this abstract [4] states that (as of 2004), “[...] it has never been detected so far in the ISM, or among the numerous organic molecules extracted from organic rich meteorites.” So, the bottom line is that it probably does exist in interstellar space (since the lab experiments find that it can be produced by photolysis of interstellar ices), but we haven't yet proved that it does by detecting it there (which means that it stays out of the table for the time being). Hope that answers your question! Scog (talk) 08:43, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks Scog :) --Choij (talk) 09:37, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Hexamine is a terrible name, since it can be easily confused with hexylamine. For the record, "hexamine" has not been detected in space. - Astrochemist (talk) 13:22, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Can't figure out how to fix obvious typo[edit]

The entry for methane in the "Five Atoms" table has some garbled HTML. I tried to fix it, but couldn't figure out how to do it right. In firefox, it appears on the screen as

   Methaneref name="apj244" />[71]<

where the [71] part is a superscript.

Is there some documentation that explains how I could have fixed this myself? I don't seem to find it. I'd rather not just replace it with a new chunk of garbled HTML.

Jc42 (talk) 15:34, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

An editor had decided to re-order the cites and left that in a bad state. I've restored the format so it should be okay now. Thanks for catching that.—RJH (talk) 16:37, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

AlO (X2Σ+)[edit]

Could you tell me how should the above be added to the table? Should it be as 'AlO' and then the 'AlO (X2Σ+)' listed in the ion column? What should it be called? Ref. Thank you.—RJH (talk) 18:05, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Never mind: I overlooked that it was already in the list. Sorry.—RJH (talk) 18:29, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Very late response, but the 'X2Σ+' is just the molecular term symbol. Most importantly, the X indicates that it's the electronic ground state of the molecule, then the other bits are information about the quantum numbers (which don't matter for our purposes). Optical/UV detections are of the X state, because they consist of photons being absorbed by the molecule via electronic transitions, so what we end up detecting is the electronic state of the molecule before the absorption. In the ISM molecules relax down to their ground states far faster (time scale of seconds or less) than collisions can excite them to excited electronic states (months or years).
For the paper you cite, they in fact use millimetre observations of rotational transitions within the ground state of the molecule, seen in emission rather than absorption. It's still the X-state that's being detected. However, I should point out that this paper reports the detection of AlO in circumstellar material, NOT interstellar material, so it probably shouldn't be in our list (unless there's an interstellar detection I've missed). Modest Genius talk 22:29, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Perhaps it would make sense then to have a separate but parallel list of circumstellar molecules?—RJH (talk) 18:22, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps this should just be a list of both. The astrochymist list includes both, as does the Koln list. We would otherwise run into the perennial problem of determining where the boundary between the two states lies, and I guess it's only pedants like me that distinguish the two. Modest Genius talk 00:57, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Thiocyanic acid[edit]

The Isothiocyanic acid (HNCS) and Thiocyanic acid (HSCN) finds are listed as separate discoveries that occurred three decades apart. Should they be merged or kept apart? (I'm not a chemistry expert, as you can tell.) Thanks.—RJH (talk) 18:33, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

They certainly should be kept apart, just like any other pair of isomeric compounds. --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 00:38, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Missing entries…?[edit]

Some compounds/ions from the lightweight end seem to be conspicuously missing. Probably some just haven't been observed yet, but in the case any of these have and actually are missing, yelp.

  • the HeH⁺, He2⁺, He2²⁺ ions
  • any compounds of lithium, beryllium, boron (LiH, BO, etc)
  • hydroxide anion (OH⁻)
  • methyl (CH3)
  • HOO(+)
  • fluorine compounds other than HF, CF⁺, AlF (NaF, OF, etc)
  • monophosphine, triphosphine (PH, PH3)
  • sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
  • aluminium nitride (AlN)
  • cyanamidyl (HNCN)
  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • ozone (O3)
  • chlorine monoxide (ClO)
  • S2
  • cyanogen (NCCN)
  • silica (SiO2)

I suppose this'll also serve as a checklist for future. --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 02:40, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I took one member of your list, chlorine monoxide, and went looking for a source. However, I found nothing to indicate it had been observed in the ISM. I did find one search that had failed to detect it. I had similar results for nitrogen dioxide.—RJH (talk) 15:40, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I have no idea whether sources actually exist for the observation any of these, but that comparable except more complex molecules have been observed, quite suggests that these should at least exists as well. Methyl is probably the one whose absense baffles me the most (if both methane and methylene have been spotted). --Trɔpʏliʊmblah
I know HeH+ has not yet been observed. The one that surprises me the most is silica. Absolutely staggering that that hasn't been detected. Reyk YO! 13:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I doubt it exists in the gas phase - any combination of silicon and oxygen is likely to be in the form of silicate dust grains. Silicon atoms are highly depleted from the gas phase as it is, even in diffuse clouds. Nor can I think of a gas-phase reaction pathway that could form silica without needing a surface. Modest Genius talk 12:10, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
I checked out Ozone; turns out that was detected back in 1980, to very little fanfare. Reyk YO! 13:34, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Looks like Methyl has been detected via the Infrared Space Observatory.[5]RJH (talk) 22:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

On another note, our page for Propynylidyne suggests that on the ion front, C2H2⁺, C3H2⁺, C3H3⁺, C4H2⁺, C3⁺, C4⁺ are missing. (Could be computational intermediates tho.) --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 22:24, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Sodium Hydroxide has been detected.[6]RJH (talk) 22:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
It wasn't on the list, but I found a paper on the discovery of Sodium iodide. Reyk YO! 23:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Relative abundance[edit]

Does anyone have or know where to get numbers on the relative abundance of these molecules, along with concentrations? Ideally, there'd be separate abundances for gas particles and dust particles. SamuelRiv (talk) 18:03, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I think it varies based on local conditions.—RJH (talk) 20:04, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Massively. By tens of orders of magnitude. Any such list would be utterly meaningless, unless it just concerned a single line of sight, in which case it would be misleading. Modest Genius talk 20:13, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Stellar detections[edit]

In looking back at the references used on this page, it appears that a number cite molecular detections in circumstellar envelopes; particularly from IRC +10216.[7] This appears to conflict with the article lead, so they may need to be replaced by citations for detections in the ISM. Here are the ones that look like stellar detections:

  • The chemistry in circumstellar envelopes of evolved stars: Following the origin of the elements to the origin of life
    • Many!
  • Metals in IRC+10216 - Detection of NaCl, AlCl, and KCl, and tentative detection of AlF
    • AlCl, KCl, NaCl
  • Exotic fluoride molecules in IRC +10216: Confirmation of AlF and searches for MgF and CaF
    • AlF
  • Millimeter Detection of AlO (X2Σ+): Metal Oxide Chemistry in the Envelope of VY Canis Majoris
    • AlO
  • Free CP in IRC + 10216
    • CP
  • Astronomical identification of CN-, the smallest observed molecular anion
    • CN-
  • Exotic Metal Molecules in Oxygen-rich Envelopes: Detection of AlOH (X1Σ+) in VY Canis Majoris
    • AlOH
  • Detection of the CCP Radical (X 2Πr) in IRC +10216: A New Interstellar Phosphorus-containing Specie
    • C2P
  • Spectral scan of Orion A and IRC+10216 from 72 to 91 GHz'
    • SO2, HNCO, H2C2O, CH3OH
  • 'Detection of the SiNC radical in IRC+10216
    • SiNC
  • Ethylene in IRC +10216
    • C2H2, C2H4
  • Ammonia and cyanotriacetylene in the envelopes of CRL 2688 and IRC + 10216
    • NH3
  • Silane in IRC +10216
    • SiH4
  • Tentative detection of phosphine in IRC +10216
    • PH3

What do you think? We could consider renaming the article to List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules.—RJH (talk) 23:09, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Are there any objections to having this article be renamed to List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules?—RJH (talk) 15:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm late, but per my comments above, I think this renaming is a good move. Distinguishing the two is a subjective exercise and probably unhelpful; the other major list sites also include both. Modest Genius talk 16:21, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. Potentially we could distinguish the circumstellar-only molecules by color coding those table rows (perhaps in light orange?).—RJH (talk) 18:09, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
That's a tempting idea, but where do we draw the line? Are the Red Rectangle and Butterfly nebula circumstellar or interstellar? What about embedded hot cores, where the protostar is buried in the middle of a molecular cloud so the two can't be separated? What about radio detections from the directions of the H II regions inside Sgr B2? Mira's cometary tail? How far out from the centre of IRC +10216 would be necessary to qualify as interstellar? OK some of those are somewhat moot at present because there aren't any molecules detected solely in them, but others are already a problem, and more are bound to crop up as more molecules are detected. Modest Genius talk 23:49, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Suggestions for the page[edit]

I don't know much about Wikipedia, but I was urged by a board member to hopefully give useful comments on this page to make it more beneficial.

  • When I look at this page, the first thing I want to know is how many interstellar molecules have been detected. I can't see this on the page anywhere.
    • (I also want to know the number of molecules detected in circumstellar environments and extragalactic environments)
  • I would also like to use the information here in talks, and at present the data is not very accessible. Can this be improved somehow? Can a large table be made which lists all the species in size order which can be captured for incorporation into slides? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:04, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
(1) By the number of molecules, do you mean the number of unique types without regard to whether they are ionized or deuterated? Probably the easiest way to do that may be to add a tally to each section header. (Ex.: "Diatomic (32)".) Doing so would make it simple to maintain and verify. Otherwise I'd hate to have to keep checking the sum.
(1a) Finding out all molecules that have been detected in extragalactic environments would be something of a challenge. Does that include the Magellanic Clouds?
(2) Well, I personally prefer the current format because a single, huge table is unwieldy and difficult to edit. But you can always copy/paste each of the tables into a single spreadsheet, which can then be edited for your convenience. That would also make it easy to generate a tally.
Regards, RJH (talk) 15:26, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, ionised or deuterated forms count as new detected molecules; all other such lists agree. A big table would be nice (as an addition, not instead of the current layout) but would be a lot of work. A similar table, and a list of extragalactic detections, are given on the Koln page (which is in the external links). I don't think the totals in the headings are a good idea, although a grand total given in the lead would be nice. Modest Genius talk 16:53, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Having the totals in each heading would make it easier to generate and check a grand total. For practical reasons, I'd be against just having a grand total because of difficulty in maintenance (unless we can find a volunteer to keep checking and maintaining the total with each change.) Regards, RJH (talk) 16:07, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
This seems useful. I agree that duplicating an existing standard list is really unnecessary. But summarizing the list in some useful way would still require the same challenging maintenance commitment. Maybe other editors have met this challenge in other areas and can provide guidance Helpme BSmith821 (talk) 16:45, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

NH2OH - hydroxylamine[edit]

Talk:BatteryIncluded I thought you might want to add this discovery : The signal from the molecule, hydroxylamine, which is made up of atoms of nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, still needs to be verified. But, if confirmed, it would mean scientists had found a chemical that could potentially seed life on other worlds, and may have played a role in life's origin on our home planet about 3.6 billion years ago. See Remijan, Anthony BSmith821 (talk) 16:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Updated database[edit]

NASA just made a new updated online database of organic interstellar molecules [8], [9]. There may be 700 molecules in it. I will take a look at their app. and will think of a way to transfer the information to this article. Cheers, --BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:29, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

I think most of these have not been detected in interstellar space. It seems to be a database of spectral lines either derived theoretically, or measured by experiment in the lab. Reyk YO! 05:05, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I think you are right. The listed 75 "experimental" molecules were done in the lab. The other 700 are theoretical. Thank you. BatteryIncluded (talk) 12:31, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, these are theoretical and laboratory predictions, not actual interstellar detections. No-one has yet definitively identified a specific PAH molecule in space. There are a few contested / unconvincing claims, and these already (or at least should) appear in the 'Unconfirmed' section. Modest Genius talk 15:07, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The database is starting to harvest fruits: [10]. Seems like their modification in space is very dynamic and environment-dependent. I think in the near future we'll read about specific PAH molecules in space. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:47, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing the references - Great Finds - if interested, reference details are as follows =>
may be helpful with some of the PAH material - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 00:31, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

This is supposed to be a Featured List, but the prose has got very messy. The History section is particularly bad. Some examples:

  • It credits Wickramasinghe with first suggesting there could be molecules in space, despite the fact that interstellar CH had been discovered before he was even born!
  • Almost all the text refers to announcements from the last few (5-10) years
  • Most of the content doesn't actually talk about detecting molecules, but is instead general discussion which would be more suited to the molecular astrophysics, astrochemistry or PAH articles
  • There's discussion of molecules in the Solar System, despite that being explicitly outside the remit of this article ('interstellar and circumstellar molecules')

and so on. A lot of this seems to have been added following press releases, some of which seem to have been misunderstood by the editors in question. Other parts are synthesis. I'll try to find some time to go through things in the next couple of weeks, but would be grateful for some other expert eyes. Modest Genius talk 15:02, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, let's check for accuracy and delete most prose from this list. --BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:11, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Also yes, seems updating this and related articles may be in order - thanks for the comments - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 18:39, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

QUESTIONS: Organics Detected in Comet OK - or Not?[edit]

Seems several edits (Edit-1 and Edit-2) to note the reported detection[1][2][3] of organic compounds (including acetamide, acetone, methyl isocyanate and propionaldehyde) on comet 67/P by the Philae comet lander on 30 July 2015 were deleted by User:Reyk.

Deleted Edit-1 - Copied from the "main article (on 22:24, 30 July 2015)":

On 30 July 2015, scientists reported that upon the first touchdown of the Philae lander on comet 67/P's surface, measurements by the COSAC and Ptolemy instruments revealed sixteen organic compounds, four of which were seen for the first time on a comet, including acetamide, acetone, methyl isocyanate and propionaldehyde.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ a b Jordans, Frank (30 July 2015). "Philae probe finds evidence that comets can be cosmic labs". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Science on the Surface of a Comet". European Space Agency. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Bibring, J.-P.; Taylor, M.G.G.T.; Alexander, C.; Auster, U.; Biele, J.; Finzi, A. Ercoli; Goesmann, F.; Klingehoefer, G.; Kofman, W.; Mottola, S.; Seidenstiker, K.J.; Spohn, T.; Wright, I. (31 July 2015). "Philae's First Days on the Comet - Introduction to Special Issue". Science (journal). 349 (6247): 493. doi:10.1126/science.aac5116. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 


Question-1. Should these edits be restored to the "List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules" main article - or Not? - after all, the organics were detected on a comet - which can be considered, at least, "extraterrestrial" or "outer space" - but also "interstellar" as well - since comet orbits may extend well outside the Solar System?

Question-2. Should the main article be broadened to include molecules that are "extraterrestrial" - or molecules found in "outer space" - instead of molecules found only in "interstellar" and/or "circumstellar" space (terms that are possibly unclear, ambiguous and limited in comparison)?

Question-3. Should the name of the main article be changed to the "List of extraterrestrial molecules" or "List of molecules found in outer space" - instead of the seemingly limited, and perhaps, less well defined, "List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules"?

Comments Welcome - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 13:59, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

No, no and no. Comets are definitely out of scope for this article, and are certainly not part of the ISM. I would support creating a new List of molecules detected in comets or similar, but the conditions on comets are very different to those in the ISM so we shouldn't mix the two. Circumstellar molecules were included because there's no obvious boundary between e.g. IRC+10216 and the ISM. That issue does not arise for comets. Note that none of the pages in the external links include comets in lists of the ISM. Modest Genius talk 14:37, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
(ec) No to all three questions. Comets are Solar System bodies and this article is about molecules detected in the interstellar medium. I do not support progressively broadening the scope of this article to include everything. Reyk YO! 15:19, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

@Modest Genius and Reyk: Thank you *very much* for your comments - and clarifications - no problem whatsoever - Thanks again - and - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 15:53, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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That's clearly not an improvement, as the archived page just shows a paywall error rather than the content of the article. However I've managed to track down a working link and will update the page. Modest Genius talk 23:30, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Molecules or compounds in title?[edit]

I think that the name of this article should have compounds or substances instead of molecules.-- (talk) 14:38, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Why? It doesn't include solid-state compounds, or all chemical species such as atomic ions. "Molecules" appears to be correct to me. Modest Genius talk 15:15, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
The current title is fair enough, everything here is a molecule in the gaseous state. "Substances" may have to include cosmic rays, dark matter and interstellar dust as well. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 08:07, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Then it should be changed to List of gaseous substances in interstellar and.... The word molecule underlines the microscopic level instead of the macroscopic level of substances.-- (talk) 11:52, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
Again, no, it is correct as it is. BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:21, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Count titles in common use - or not?[edit]

Diatomic and Triatomic are also taken from greek. It makes absolutely no sense to keep those but call all the ones 4+ Four atoms, Five atoms, Six atoms etc. instead of Tetratomic/Quadratomic, Pentatomic, Hexatomic, etc. Can someone tell me why? It makes no sense to stop at triatomic and not continue the pattern. (talk) 00:06, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Diatomic and triatomic are in common use. Those others are not, and I suspect a writer here is using Wikipedia to promote their use. The point is not whether the terms are from Greek, but that they are not used as such in English much. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 00:56, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
 Done - FWIW - yes - agreed - common use is preferred - hope this helps - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 02:26, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
We certainly shouldn't use the Greek forms for four or more atoms, which very few readers would understand. Diatomic and triatomic are sufficiently common that it seems fine to use them, but I'm not opposed to 'two atoms' and 'three atoms' either. Modest Genius talk 20:26, 13 April 2017 (UTC)