Every now and then you hear something which grabs your attention. This captured my attention: There is a cloud of alcohol (ethyl alcohol – the happy juice found in beer, wine, and spirits) floating in space. This isn’t a small cloud either. There is enough alcohol in this cloud to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. That is one hell of a keg party.
Imagine a whole space cloud filled with beer. An intergalatic kegger!
The bad news is it is 10,000 light years away in the constellation of Aquila. It’s unlikely we could get to the cloud any time soon. The booze cloud, known as G34.3, is so large (1000 times the size of our solar system) our solar system could drown itself inside many times over.
Space alcohol was discovered back in 1975 by Dr. Ben M. Zuckerman of the University of California at Los Angeles, so it’s not a recent discovery. The booze cloud was found in 1995 by Drs. Tom Millar, Geoffrey MacDonald and Rolf Habing. What makes this cloud so interesting is the massive amounts of alcohol in the cloud. There are other compounds in this cloud, 32 in all, but alcohol is the most abundant.
Scientists theorize simpler compounds collect on bits of dust. When these compounds get close enough, they are able to react with each other forming more complex molecules like alcohol. These reactions can take place over 10,000 years, thus beating the longest fermentation you or anyone else has ever experienced.
In the center of the cloud is a young and very drunk star (not Paris Hilton). Scientists believe the grains of dust carrying the alcohol drifted near the young star, and were warmed up enough to cause the alcohol to turn into its gas state creating the massive clouds of booze. That or space aliens are planning for one crazy Oktoberfest!