ALMA Observes First Protoplanetary Water Snow Line Thanks to Stellar Outburst

A song of Ice and Fire, i.e., outbursting flaring star pushing water snow line far away allowing for it to be observed. First time for water.

The actual image shows a drop in optical depth that matches condensation temperature of water located at 50 au away from the star (that’s too far, not expected). Photons presented here are of the 220 GHz variety (1.2mm wavelengths), seen through ALMA Observatory.

Why important? Evidence for migrating snow lines during early evolution of stars = cool implications for architecture of planetary systems, and life and shenanigans…

Nature paper by Cieza et al. (including Casassus, Perez, Cánovas, Hales, Zurlo) can be found here.

Read the ALMA press release

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