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V883 Ori is the link to understanding water in our Solar System

8 March, 2023 / Read time: 1 minute

Most of the time, water in the circumstellar disks surrounding protostars is in the form of ice, sometimes extending out long distances from the star. In the case of V883 Ori, the snowline extends 80 au from the star; that’s 80 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, as shown in this animation. But, the temperature at V883 Ori is just hot enough that much of the ice in its disk has turned to gas, making it possible for radio astronomers to study that water in detail. New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed that the water in V883 Ori’s disk is of the same basic composition as water on objects in our Solar System. This suggests that the water in our own Solar System formed billions of years before the Sun in the interstellar medium.

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Tobin, B.Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)