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Hershel Space Observatory

20 September 2017

At https://phys.org/print425034601.html … the Hershel Space Observatory has traced the present of water in space. The water molecule is present in star forming molecular clouds – and probably delivered delivered water from interplanetary debris to planets in our solar system.

Water has been found in abundance on planets, moons, stars, star forming clouds, and comets and asteroids. However, studying water in space is tricky as we live under an atmosphere rich in water vapour. Instruments onboard Hershel are designed to get around this problem, hence the recent discoveries, so much so the observatory has detected cold water vapour in protoplanetary discs.

At https://phys.org/print425045882.html … a study in Geophysical Review Letters this month adds three new craters to the list of craters that harbour surface ice deposits (near the North Pole of Mercury). Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun and one might assume it gets a bit hot – but no. The idea that Mercury possesses frozen water has been around for a long time – since 1994. It seems that as Mercury orbits around the Sun it has little tilt and that means the pole get little direct sunlight.

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