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Saturday, April 20 2024
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Scientists Uncover Oceans on Emerging Planet

Scientists
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Researchers have made a significant discovery when they discover copious amounts of water vapor in a dust disk that surrounds a newborn star. The young star has three times as much water in it as all of Earth’s oceans, claims space.com. In their search for indications of life on planets other than Earth, astronomers will find value in this discovery. The water was discovered in the disk around the sun-like star HL Tauri, which is situated in the Taurus constellation 450 light years away from Earth, as vapor trapped in gas and dust.
The process is described in research that was published in Nature Astronomy.

The discovery was made using the Atacama Large Millimetre/ sub-millimetre Array (ALMA), which helped scientists zoom in on the water vapour.

“I had never imagined that we could capture an image of oceans of water vapour in the same region where a planet is likely forming,” Stefano Facchini, the lead researcher and an astronomer at the University of Milan, said in a statement.

“Our results show how the presence of water may influence the development of a planetary system, just like it did some 4.5 billion years ago in our own solar system,” the statement further said.

Researchers have always wondered how Earth got its water, a key element needed to form and sustain life. Some studies suggest it came from comets and asteroids. Others suggest water was present when Earth was formed.

This discovery will help them understand how water came to HL Tauri. Science Alert said it is less than a million years old, and surrounded by a broad, cool, stable disk.

HL Tauri is a part of one of the largest and closest star-forming regions to Earth called the Taurus Molecular cloud. ALMA’s sensitivity allowed astronomers to determine the distribution of water in different regions of the HL Tauri disk.

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