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Has the missing link of water in our solar system finally been discovered?

V883 Orionis is a small terrestrial planet 1,300 light-years from Earth that may explain the origin of water in planetary systems.

The constellation Orion is one of the most famous. Like all constellations, it has many stars, but recently one of them has been of great interest to astronomers. that it V883 Orionis, 1300 light years from Earth. Like any young star, it has a disk of gas and dust around it, but researchers from it National Radio Astronomy Observatoryin the United States To make a big discovery.

V883 Orionis, a small, unremarkable planet, is 1,300 light-years from Earth

These experts wanted to study the origins of water, how and where it forms, and how it travels, from simple clouds in the origin of stars to planets. This same journey, from cloud to young star, as well as from comet to planet, has already been observed, but scientists have not yet established a connection between young stars and comets. If water consists “naturally” of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, sometimes we also find heavy water, the composition of which is completely different. Analyzing the signatures of water for the ratio of one to the other makes it possible to understand the origins of the formation of this water. This is what made it possible to find out that water came to Earth through comets.

What is its relationship to V883 Orionis? A few years ago, these astronomers noticed that an explosion of energy rocked the star and caused the disk to heat up “to a point where water is no longer in the form of ice, but gas, allowing us to figure that out,” according to John J. Tobin, an astronomer. In general, the water in disks of gas and dust around young stars exists as ice. This ice is difficult to detect because its molecules rotate and vibrate less than those of carbonated water. Closer to the star, the environment is much warmer, and the water is in a gaseous state, but these regions are less visible to our instruments, especially because of the dust.

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Which can explain the origin of the water of planetary systems

Thanks to the sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Antenna Array (Alma, Chile) and this star V883 Orionis, researchers sought to find the “missing link in the water.” The aim was, on the one hand, to detect water, but also, above all, to determine its composition and map its distribution in the gas-dust disk. On V883 Orionis, there would be 1,200 times as much water as there is on Earth. And the composition of this water is very similar to that of comets in our solar system: “which confirms the idea that the water of planetary systems was formed billions of years ago, even before our sun, in interstellar space, and that comets and the Earth inherited it without major chemical changes,” concludes John J. Tobin.