Water has been found by the James Webb Space Telescope in the inner disk of a young star, where gigantic planets have already formed farther away. This study was carried out as part of the MINDS cooperation, according to an article published in Nature on Monday, July 24.
At this point, when the disk has already lost the majority of its substance, this is the first observation of water. And according to a study by Radboud University, any rocky planet that forms in the inner disk will profit from a sizable local water reservoir, which raises the possibility of ‘habitability’ in the future. For more details read the full article below:
James Webb Space Telescope Water Center Protoplanetary Disk
Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered water vapor for the first time in the inner area of a protoplanetary disk, where rocky planets may be developing. K-type star PDS 70, 370 light years away, is encircled by a massive cloud of hot, whirling gas.
A recent piece, which can be located below, has our discussion on the topic:
- Spacex To Raise $750 Million At $137 Billion Valuation
- Why Didn’t Spacex Starship Rocket Launch On Monday?
There is a five billion mile (eight billion kilometers) gap dividing this protoplanetary disk into two pieces, which is a clear indication that material is condensing to form new planets. In that space, two gas giants are starting. Additionally, they claim to have seen water vapor in the region of the disk inside the gap where rocky terrestrial planets may be forming, they said:
“We’ve seen water in other disks, but not so close in and in a system where planets are currently assembling. We couldn’t make this type of measurement before Webb,”
Giulia Perotti, a postdoc fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany and lead author of research into PDS 70 and its planet-forming disk, published in Nature on 24 July.
For the first time, a protoplanetary disk’s terrestrial zone has been found to contain water vapor by scientists. The results show that rocky planets might directly access water if they are forming around PDS 70, providing astronomers with a window into how Earth may have developed.
We’re sure you’re all aware that Earth is a rock ball covered in oceans, but it’s unclear how the planet acquired water. The Centre for Star and Planet Development at the University of Copenhagen discovered last month that planets like Earth might have acquired its water during their development.
As Earth expanded, it drew frozen particles from the protoplanetary disk around it, absorbing them as it gained mass and size. If so, these particles—which were present in space around our tiny planet from the beginning—would represent the Earth’s source of water.
On its Facebook page, the James Webb Space Telescope published:
It’s probable that the same event is taking place right now as rocky planets are developing around PDS 70. This debunks the notion that comets or some other distant source brought water to Earth. The paper by Perotti et al concluded:
“Our findings show water in the inner disk of PDS 70. This implies that potential terrestrial planets forming therein have access to a water reservoir.”
The discovery was made after MIRI (the Mid-Infrared Instrument) on the James Webb Space Telescope sniffed water vapor within PDS 70’s inner protoplanetary disk at distances less than 99 million miles (160 million kilometers) from the star.
The next step is to try to identify the water vapor’s source and its form. The scientists speculate that water molecules may arise directly from atoms joining together in the disk or that frozen grains from the colder outer edge may have traveled through the gap and toward the hot inner region, where they sublimated to form a gas.
Rens Waters, co-author of this month’s study, and an astrophysics professor at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said:
“We find a relatively high amount of small dust grains. Combined with our detection of water vapor, the inner disk is a very exciting place,”
Additionally, scientists are interested in how water vapor can endure at such close proximity to a star when UV radiation from the star should cause the molecules to disintegrate. Bookmark our website digitalnewsexpert.com and read our latest posts.