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Star Found Shooting Water "Bullets"
National Geographic ^ | 6/13/11 | Andrew Fazekas

Posted on 06/15/2011 2:04:37 AM PDT by LibWhacker

Stellar sprinklers may help irrigate cosmos, study suggests.

Seven hundred and fifty light-years from Earth, a young, sunlike star has been found with jets that blast epic quantities of water into interstellar space, shooting out droplets that move faster than a speeding bullet.

The discovery suggests that protostars may be seeding the universe with water. These stellar embryos shoot jets of material from their north and south poles as their growth is fed by infalling dust that circles the bodies in vast disks.

"If we picture these jets as giant hoses and the water droplets as bullets, the amount shooting out equals a hundred million times the water flowing through the Amazon River every second," said Lars Kristensen, a postdoctoral astronomer at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

"We are talking about velocities reaching 200,000 kilometers [124,000 miles] per hour, which is about 80 times faster than bullets flying out of a machine gun," said Kristensen, lead author of the new study detailing the discovery, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Water Vanishes, Only to Reappear

Located in the northern constellation Perseus, the protostar is no more than a hundred thousand years old and remains swaddled in a large cloud—gas and dust from which the star was born.

Using an infrared instrument on the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, researchers were able to peer through the cloud and detect telltale light signatures of hydrogen and oxygen atoms—the building blocks of water—moving on and around the star.

After tracing the paths of these atoms, the team concluded that water forms on the star, where temperatures are a few thousand degrees Celsius. But once the droplets enter the outward-spewing jets of gas, 180,000-degree-Fahrenheit (100,000-degree-Celsius) temperatures blast the water back into gaseous form.

Once the hot gases hit the much cooler surrounding material—at about 5,000 times the distance from the sun to Earth—they decelerate, creating a shock front where the gases cool down rapidly, condense, and reform as water, Kristensen said.

Stellar Sprinkler Nourishes Galactic "Garden"

What's really exciting about the discovery is that it appears to be a stellar rite of passage, the researchers say, which may shed new light on the earliest stages of our own sun's life—and how water fits into that picture.

"We are only now beginning to understand that sunlike stars probably all undergo a very energetic phase when they are young," Kristensen said. "It's at this point in their lives when they spew out a lot of high-velocity material—part of which we now know is water."

Like a celestial sprinkler system, the star may be enriching the interstellar medium—thin gases that float in the voids between stars. And because the hydrogen and oxygen in water are key components of the dusty disks in which stars form, such protostar sprinklers may be encouraging the growth of further stars, the study says.

The water-jet phenomenon seen in Perseus is "probably a short-lived phase all protostars go through," Kristensen said.

"But if we have enough of these sprinklers going off throughout the galaxy—this starts to become interesting on many levels."


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: bullets; jets; protostar; sprinklers; star; water

1 posted on 06/15/2011 2:04:46 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

Is anyone up for some Interstellar waterboarding?


2 posted on 06/15/2011 2:06:45 AM PDT by lmr
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To: LibWhacker

Seriously, though, I know it’s essential for life and all, but Scientists get all wet when talking about water in space for some reason.


3 posted on 06/15/2011 2:08:23 AM PDT by lmr
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To: lmr

These stars are so going to hear from the HOA.


4 posted on 06/15/2011 2:09:31 AM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: LibWhacker

bookmark


5 posted on 06/15/2011 2:31:50 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Nailbiter

Maybe they eject the water only twice a week: Tuesdays and Fridays if their stellar catalogue number is even......


6 posted on 06/15/2011 4:05:47 AM PDT by Pecos (Constitutionalist. Liberty and Honor will not die on my watch.)
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To: LibWhacker

I don’t know where to start...

They can’t even tell if PLUTO is a real planet or not, but they can peer at THIS thing, FIFTY light years away, THROUGH clouds that surround it to tell us that it’s spewing water.. okay..not exactly water.. “telltale light signatures of hydrogen and oxygen atoms”

Come on, it’s a STAR. That means HOT. “temperatures are a few thousand degrees celsius..”
And water is produced out of such heat HOW???


7 posted on 06/15/2011 4:39:35 AM PDT by J40000
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To: LibWhacker

It’s global climate change.

Where’s my grant money?


8 posted on 06/15/2011 5:25:43 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: LibWhacker
Namor was right!


9 posted on 06/15/2011 5:28:39 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: J40000
They can’t even tell if PLUTO is a real planet or not

They can tell you all about Pluto's mass, shape, orbit and so forth. Whether it is a planet or not is a matter of definition and hence essentially arbitrary. It's a human classification category, nothing to do with the object itself.

If we wanted to, we could reclassify any sun-orbiting objects smaller than the earth as "non-planets" and Mercury, Venus and Mars would promptly drop out of the "planet" category.

10 posted on 06/15/2011 5:32:50 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: J40000

BTW, I’m with you in general.

Scientists make the most remarkable statements based on amazingly little data.


11 posted on 06/15/2011 5:34:51 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: lmr
"Is anyone up for some Interstellar waterboarding?"


12 posted on 06/15/2011 5:38:26 AM PDT by BlueLancer (Square Dancing - Drill and Ceremonies Set To Music)
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To: J40000
I don’t know where to start...
Me either. Guess I'll start at the beginning.
They can’t even tell if PLUTO is a real planet or not,
But that's a matter of definition, isn't it? They argued amongst themselves about what it means to be a planet and as a result of that shifting definition, Pluto lost out, that's all. That reclassification had nothing to do with something they couldn't tell about the planet.
but they can peer at THIS thing, FIFTY light years away, THROUGH clouds that surround it
Actually, it's 750 light years away. Secondly, they are looking at things at infrared wavelengths. The clouds are transparent at those wavelengths, and what they are looking at doesn't require such fantastic resolution either; the jets shoot outward 5,000 A.U. in either direction.
to tell us that it’s spewing water.. okay..not exactly water.. “telltale light signatures of hydrogen and oxygen atoms”

Come on, it’s a STAR. That means HOT. “temperatures are a few thousand degrees celsius..” And water is produced out of such heat HOW???

The article explains that as well. When that fast moving (i.e., hot) material hits the interstellar medium, it is slowed down (cooled) and condenses again into water. That's both a matter of well-established physical and chemical law, and can probably be observed directly through spectroscopy to boot.

13 posted on 06/15/2011 5:54:03 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Sherman Logan

Beat me to the punch, thanks.


14 posted on 06/15/2011 5:56:33 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: J40000

I don’t get it, either. How could all that O2 and heat not result in the violent oxidation of everything? Not to mention H2...


15 posted on 06/15/2011 6:09:43 AM PDT by Rudder (The Main Stream Media is Our Enemy---get used to it.)
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To: LibWhacker

Actually, the article contributes to a common misuse of language.

What we call “water” is really liquid water.

Water, like just about all other compounds and elements, is found in three phases: solid, liquid, gas; depending on temperature and pressure.

But ice, water vapor and liquid water are all three H2O, and are equally water.

Water vapor doesn’t condense into water, it already IS water. It just goes from the gas phase to the liquid phase.


16 posted on 06/15/2011 6:13:20 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
Water vapor doesn’t condense into water, it already IS water. It just goes from the gas phase to the liquid phase.

Yes, correct. As soon as I clicked 'post," I was afraid somebody would call me on that, lol.

My understanding is that, as this material flows off the surface of the star, it's not water at all, but just the raw omponents of water, O2 and hydrogen, plus a lot of other things, of course. It is this material that condenses as it cools and water forms out of the condensate.

I don't know... the article mentions condensing, so I'm just trying to work that into my picture of things (while freely stressing that I'm not a scientist at all... my background is math first, physics second and, lastly -- way, way lastly -- chemistry), so if this isn't correct, please do correct me. I would never question an expert in a field in which I had no expertise whatsoever, but the science haters out there have no such qualms.

17 posted on 06/15/2011 6:36:11 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

I have no idea what’s going on out there, and I suspect the scientists pontificating on the subject don’t either.

It is difficult to envision water, H2O, being present at “thousands of degrees” temperature, except possibly at some tremendously high pressure.

Possibly free oxygen and hydrogen atoms “condense into water” as the temperature and pressure drops on expulsion from the star, but I suspect this is using the term “condensation” loosely.

What you said was entirely understandable, I just run into this confusion with regard to water all the time in my line of work and find it a little annoying. :)


18 posted on 06/15/2011 6:43:51 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

>> After tracing the paths of these atoms, the team concluded that water forms on the star, where temperatures are a few thousand degrees Celsius. But once the droplets... <<

The article is poorly written:

Gas droplets?

Or liquid droplets at “a few thousand degrees Celsius”?


19 posted on 06/15/2011 6:48:03 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Sherman Logan

>> After tracing the paths of these atoms, the team concluded that water forms on the star, where temperatures are a few thousand degrees Celsius. But once the droplets... <<

The article is poorly written:

Gas droplets?

Or liquid droplets at “a few thousand degrees Celsius”?

Also:

>> Once the hot gases hit the much cooler surrounding material—at about 5,000 times the distance from the sun to Earth—they decelerate, creating a shock front where the gases cool down rapidly, condense, and reform as water, Kristensen said. <<

Here, the author seems to refer to “liquid water” as “water.”


20 posted on 06/15/2011 6:49:24 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Sherman Logan
It is difficult to envision water, H2O, being present at “thousands of degrees” temperature

It definitely cannot. I distinctly remember one of my professors in a physics class mentioning that no molecule that is known to man can survive on the surface of the Sun. The electrons are stipped away at those temperatures and the molecules disassociate into their atomic components.

So you're left with nothing but plasma (another state of matter) on the surface of the Sun. Not all stars are as hot as the Sun, of course, but the one in this article is... well, it's "Sun like," which means it's close enough.

This came up because he was telling us that no spacecraft could ever be constructed that would enable us to "land on," or explore the surface of the Sun, because no molecules can exist there. Our ship and all its instruments, and all the robots on board, would have to be made out of plasma, and it's kind of hard nowadays to image how you could possibly build anything like that. If there is anything that's impossible, that's it.

21 posted on 06/15/2011 7:04:40 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
Our ship and all its instruments, and all the robots on board, would have to be made out of plasma

Or have some sort of protective force field we don't have a clue how to build.

22 posted on 06/15/2011 9:00:17 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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