In the constellation of Orion, about 1,300 light-years from Earth, is a young star that doesn’t look like much. However, astronomers have just found the missing link for water in our solar system.
The constellation Orion is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable constellations in our sky. The person who tells the legend of this giant hunter who “The beast cannot win”. to me Astronomy scientistsAstronomy scientistswhich is also the one that hides in its core, at about 1300 light yearslight years From our land, young man a stara star Its name is V883 Orionis. Like many stars of her time, she is surrounded by a disk GasGas and dust. The young star isn’t unusual, though. If not, then it is he who has recently become interested in him researchers from National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United State).
Their goal: to track when and where water is formed and how it travels, cloudsclouds From the gas and dust that generates stars to the planets that appear a little later. Because if water goes from clouds to young stars, then after that cometscomets towards the planets, and until now the link between young stars and comets has been missing.
Remember that water is usually composed of two atomshydrogenhydrogen (h2) and an oxygen atom (O). But there is a slightly heavier version. with a deuterium atom – a peerpeer Heavy with hydrogen – instead of one of the hydrogen atoms. This heavy water does not form under the same conditions as simple water. Thus, measuring the chemical signatures of water to determine the ratio of one to the other can aid in understanding when and where water formed. This is what makes researchers say that water came to Earth by comets. Because the heavy water/light water ratio is in some of our comets solar systemsolar system Similar to what was measured on Earth.
water from the interstellar medium
But back to V883 Orionis. If the young star isn’t unusual, it still had a peculiarity that specifically allowed astronomers to conduct their study. A few years ago, in fact, they noticed an amazing explosion ofenergyenergy Shake the star and heat its disk “Up to a temperature at which water is not in the form of ice, but a gas, which allows us to detect it.”John J. Tobin, an astronomer, says in a statementEuropean the Souththe South Observatory (ESO).
It must be said that the water one finds in the disks of gas and dust that surround young stars takes the form of ice. Ice is difficult to detect because particlesparticles It rotates and vibrates to a lesser extent than that which forms water in a gaseous state. So definitely, near the star, the environment is much warmer and the water is already in the gaseous state. But these areas are often hidden from our instruments by recorded dust.
By targeting V883 Orionis, and thanks to the sensitivity of Atacama’s Large Millimeter/submillimeter Antenna Array (Alma, Chile), the researchers aimed to ” the Missing linkMissing link water “. For they intended not only to detect water, but also to determine its composition and map its distribution in the disk of gas and dust. There would be 1,200 times more of all the water on Earth! More importantly, the composition of the water in this disk looked very similar to that of comets in our solar system. “What confirms the idea that the waters of planetary systems were formed billions of years ago, even before our sun, in interstellar space, and that comets and Earth inherited them without major chemical changes.”says John J. Tobin.