Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birthQuicklink submitted by Kyle McDermott Permalink
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|Stars form within cold, dark clouds of gas and dust - 'pre-stellar cores' - that contain all the ingredients to make solar systems like our own. Water, essential to life on Earth, has previously been detected outside of our Solar System near sites of active star formation, and in proto-planetary discs capable of forming alien planetary systems. The new Herschel observations of a cold pre-stellar core in the constellation of Taurus known as Lynds 1544 are the first detection of water vapour in a molecular cloud on the verge of star formation. More than 2000 Earth oceans-worth of water vapour were detected, liberated from icy dust grains by high-energy cosmic rays passing through the cloud. We can now follow the 'water trail' from a molecular cloud in the interstellar medium, through the star formation process, to a planet like Earth where water is a crucial ingredient for life.'|
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