A distant gas and dust cloud that is likely to collapse into a Sun-like star has enough water vapor to fill Earth’s oceans more than 2,000 times over.
“There is absolutely no sign of stars in this dark cloud today, but by looking at the water molecules, we can see evidence of motion inside the region that can be understood as collapse of the whole cloud towards the center,” says University of Leeds Professor Paola Caselli.
“There is enough material to form a star at least as massive as our Sun, which means it could also be forming a planetary system, possibly one like ours.”
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Photo credit: ESA/Herschel/HIFI