Signs of Cool Water Vapor Around Star

Nhsc_nhsc2011-018a_1024

nhsc_nhsc2011-018a October 20th, 2011

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Using the Herschel Space Observatory, astronomers have detected the emission from cold water vapor in the planet-forming disk around the young star TW Hydrae. The vapor arises from a vast reservoir of icy grains, which interacts with ultraviolet light from the central star. These grains should ultimately coalesce into icy comets.

This graph of data from Herschel shows how the cool water vapor was detected. Water molecules come in two "spin" forms, called ortho and para, in which the two spins of the hydrogen nuclei have different orientations. In this case, the team compared the ratio of ortho to para water seen in the TW Hydrae disk to that in comets, and found very low values. Lower ratios indicate cooler temperatures, though in practice the analysis is much more complicated. This is the first demonstration that water exists in large quantities in the frigid, outer regions of solar systems, where comets take shape.

Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. Launched in 2009, the spacecraft carries science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes. NASA's Herschel Project Office based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the U.S. astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Image Source: http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/index.php?SiteSection=ImageGallery&ViewImage=nhsc2011-018a

Curator: NASA Herschel Science Center, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

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Image Details

Image Type
Chart
Object Name
TW Hydrae
Subject - Milky Way
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Protoplanetary

Distance

Universescale1
150 light years
Nhsc_nhsc2011-018a_1280
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ID
nhsc2011-018a
Subject Category
B.3.7.2.1  
Subject Name
TW Hydrae
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2011-10-20
Lightyears
150
Redshift
150
Reference Url
http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/index.php?SiteSection=ImageGallery&ViewImage=nhsc2011-018a
Type
Chart
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NASA Herschel Science Center
URL
http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
NASA Herschel Science Center
Publisher ID
nhsc
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/nhsc/nhsc2011-018a
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-19T01:43:53Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
150 light years