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  • Observations Support Homochirality Theory

Photonics Spectra
Nov 1998
Astronomers at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in New South Wales have developed new theories on optically active molecules based on some age-old research of Louis Pasteur and new observations of Orion nebula.
For years, scientists have sought to determine why life on Earth is based on one set of optically active molecules, rather than their mirror images. Until now, only very low levels of circularly polarized light were observable in the universe.
The most recent observations of Orion nebula, however, reveal a 17 percent level of circularly polarized light. This observation, along with the detection of L-amino acids in samples from the Murchison meteorite, support the theory of homochirality -- a tendency for a single type of chiral molecule. Understanding homochirality may provide clues to the origin of life.

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