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Thread: enough water vapor to fill Earth's oceans 5x in star system

  1. #1 enough water vapor to fill Earth's oceans 5x in star system 
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    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected enough water vapor to fill the oceans on Earth five times inside the collapsing nest of a forming star system. Astronomers say the water vapor is pouring down from the system's natal cloud and smacking into a dusty disk where planets are thought to form.

    The observations provide the first direct look at how water, an essential ingredient for life as we know it, begins to make its way into planets, possibly even rocky ones like our own.

    "For the first time, we are seeing water being delivered to the region where planets will most likely form," said Dan Watson of the University of Rochester, N.Y. Watson is the lead author of a paper about this "steamy" young star system, appearing in the Aug. 30 issue of Nature.

    The star system, called NGC 1333-IRAS 4B, is still growing inside a cool cocoon of gas and dust. Within this cocoon, circling around the embryonic star, is a burgeoning, warm disk of planet-forming materials. The new Spitzer data indicate that ice from the stellar embryo's outer cocoon is falling toward the forming star and vaporizing as it hits the disk.

    "On Earth, water arrived in the form of icy asteroids and comets. Water also exists mostly as ice in the dense clouds that form stars," said Watson. "Now we've seen that water, falling as ice from a young star system's envelope to its disk, actually vaporizes on arrival. This water vapor will later freeze again into asteroids and comets."
    Here, check out the rest: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media.../release.shtml


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    it's basically a confirmation of what has been suspected for quite some time - nice to have the confirmation, but not exactly world-changing


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Forum Freshman Lothuian's Avatar
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    that is a beautiful thing
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    Do you think any significant amount of water on the Earth could have come from the comet tails or coma.
    Now I know the H2O content is too thin nowadays, but I've read that as comets age, they become depleted. That is, they lose content each time they pass by the Sun. Is it possible to extrapolate here and make an inference that over the past thousands of trips, the comet tails and coma would originally have been dense enough to add significant water to any of the planets that passed through the tails.
    Here is an article I have read:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2002/06...oid020621.html

    neo
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    As far as I know, the tails only appear as the comets near the sun, being created by the solar wind blowing some of the comet into space. So the tail would remain relatively constant relative to the distance from the sun. From this, it would follow that what the astronomer meant when he said that ice in the tails get depleted, is that ice on the comet surface get depleted. Or rather, depending on the make-up of the comet, some would evaporate completely (dirty snowball), while some would be left with only the rocky core.
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    I dont like the way people talk about water coming to earth in the form of asteroids impacting the planet.

    I think water, along with all the other elements aglutinated to form earth form the very beggining. Water couldn't have only of been taken in once the earth grew to be very large.

    Really, the only difference in view from when the earth was very small, and from when it was very large, is that by the time it became large, its gravitational field was strong enough to cause "impacts"; while when it was smaller, the effect of mass being pulled towards earth was much less dramatic.

    Anyways, thats very cool. If we only had a very very powerfull telescope and a couple thousand years, we could watch a potentially earth like planet form.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion
    I think water, along with all the other elements aglutinated to form earth form the very beggining. Water couldn't have only of been taken in once the earth grew to be very large.
    However, you are ignoring the temperature at which agglomeration into planetesimals occured and the degassing associated with melting and segragation in these bodies. I would not deny that some water would be retained within the comparatively refractory minerals composing these bodies, but the consensus view is that most of the water is the product of late stage cometary impact.
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  9. #8 Re: enough water vapor to fill Earth's oceans 5x in star sys 
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    [quote="Dr. Spitzer"]
    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected enough water vapor to fill the oceans on Earth five times inside the collapsing nest of a forming star system.
    Later today, NASA realized they needed to clean the lens!

    Cool info, but....I wonder how water vapor makes its way actually on-to developing planets? Space-fog is cool 'n all, but did the Earth really sweep up enough to make a difference to our current ration of water?
    Wolf
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  10. #9 Re: enough water vapor to fill Earth's oceans 5x in star sys 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Spitzer

    "On Earth, water arrived in the form of icy asteroids and comets. Water also exists mostly as ice in the dense clouds that form stars," said Watson. "Now we've seen that water, falling as ice from a young star system's envelope to its disk, actually vaporizes on arrival. This water vapor will later freeze again into asteroids and comets."
    Here, check out the rest: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media.../release.shtml
    Surely the creation of water was a chemical reaction. Where in the nuclear active universe did the chemical reaction take place?

    :?
    Harry Schneider
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    er as oxygen atoms were formed in the bowels of a star they would immediately grab two hydrogen molecules from the surrounding gas thus a molecule of water is formed (IMHO).
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