In the Orion Nebula
Astronomers using ISO have also found water vapour in the Orion Nebula. Actually, they've detected by far a larger amount of water than that previously measured in other interstellar clouds. Scientists knew water vapour was present in clouds close to starforming regions -like the Orion Nebula- but they have no explanation yet as to why there should be such an enormous concentration of water vapour there. Scientists believe the "huge chemical factory" observed in Orion generates "enough water molecules in a single day to fill the Earth's oceans sixty times over."
Hubble image of the Orion nebula with spectra from ISO's LWS (Long Wavelength Spectrometer).
This discovery may have also implications for the origin of water in the Solar System and on the Earth itself, and models explaining the evolution of molecular clouds where stars are born will surely have to be revised.
Last Update: 24 August 2005