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...
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.
13 December 2015
Some protostars shoot out water
This report from National Geographic dates back to 2011, but I just heard about it this week on a podcast of NSTAAF. I think it's worth sharing just for the jaw-dropping numbers.