Research NewsINFRARED ASTRONOMY

A Water Generator in the Orion Nebula

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Science  17 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5362, pp. 378
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5362.378

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Summary

Instruments aboard the Infrared Space Observatory have picked up an intense glow from a cloud near the Orion Nebula; the measurement, to be reported in the 20 April Astrophysical Journal Letters, shows it to be the highest concentration of water ever seen outside the solar system. The find confirms theories of how shock waves heat such clouds and induce oxygen to combine with hydrogen and form water vapor, and may offer clues to how water collected in the solar system and on Earth.