ALMA Observes First Protoplanetary Water Snow Line Thanks to Stellar Outburst

13 July, 2016

New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have produced the first image of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disk. This line marks where the temperature in the disk surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the young star V883 Orionis flash heated the inner portion of the disk, pushing the water snow line out to a far greater distance than is normal for a protostar, and making it possible to observe it for the first time. The results will be published in the journal Nature on July 14, 2016.

ESO/B. Tafreshi (
ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/N. Risinger ( Kornmesser.
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Cieza/M. Kornmesser

Music: Luciano – Cadenza Records – ALMA Sounds