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October 21, 2011

Nearby Planet-Forming Disk Holds Water for Thousands of Oceans

ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2011) — For the first time, astronomers have detected around a burgeoning solar system a sprawling cloud of water vapor that's cold enough to form comets, which could eventually deliver oceans to dry planets.
Water is an essential ingredient for life. Scientists have found thousands of Earth-oceans' worth of it within the planet-forming disk surrounding the star TW Hydrae. TW Hydrae is 176 light years away in the constellation Hydra and is the closest solar-system-to-be.
University of Michigan astronomy professor Ted Bergin is a co-author of a paper on the findings published in the Oct. 21 edition of Science.
The researchers used the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) on the orbiting Hershel Space Observatory to detect the chemical signature of water.


Posted by kimnath at October 21, 2011 01:42 PM


Interesting how clouds of water vapor could produce comets. Makes you wonder if our planet went through the same process.

Posted by: duymo at October 23, 2011 01:03 AM

It's too bad we won't live long enough to see what happens with the new solar system once it comes into existence. Perhaps the intelligent life that might form there will look for evidence of our existence one day.

Posted by: halljo at October 25, 2011 01:55 PM

I wonder when the comets will actually start forming and which planets they will bring water to.

Posted by: brendaac at October 25, 2011 02:42 PM

It's interesting to think that this is most likely how the Earth got water. And a U of M professor is working on publishing a paper about this? That's pretty stellar.

Posted by: ebench at October 26, 2011 03:55 PM

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