Water is a relatively common substance in the cosmos, and it has been detected in a variety of environments in our solar system and beyond. Water ice has been found on the surface of several planets and moons, including Mars, Europa, and Enceladus, and in the form of comets and asteroids.
Water vapor has also been detected in the atmospheres of many planets and moons, as well as in interstellar clouds and in the vicinity of young stars. While water is not the most abundant substance in the universe, its prevalence in many different locations suggests that it may play a key role in the formation and evolution of planetary systems.
V883 Orionis has a lot of water
Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered an abundance of water in the protoplanetary disc of V883 Orionis, as Gizmodo reveals. This discovery may provide insight into the origins of water in our solar system, which scientists generally believe arrived on Earth from comets. Protoplanetary discs, such as V883 Orionis, are filled with dust, rock, and molecules, including water in its solid state (ice), and could have led to the formation of planets. The team found that V883 Orionis has at least 1,200 times the water in all of Earth’s oceans.
John Tobin from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, who’s also the lead author of the study, explained for Gizmodo:
We’ve never been able to measure the composition of water in a protoplanetary disk before,
The measurement we made sort of fills the big gap in our knowledge of what happens between the protostar phase, when the star is first being created, versus comets, where that’s… sort of the leftovers of the planet formation process.
There are three main forms of water: solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor). Other forms of water include supercooled water, which is liquid water that remains liquid at temperatures below the freezing point, and plasma, which is an ionized gas that contains water molecules.
The new study appears in Nature.