Helium hydride ion to be the first molecule detected in space

Published: April 22, 2019

NASA’s flying observatory SOFIA has detected Helium hydride ion (HeH+), the first molecule that formed almost 14 billion years ago towards a planetary nebulae. It is the first type of molecule that formed in the universe after the Big Bang. At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form Helium hydride ion. Despite its importance in the history of the early Universe, HeH+ has so far escaped detection in astrophysical nebulae.