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Astronomers reported that they discovered hot water around a giant carbon star giving rise to new questions regarding the chemistry of stars. Astronomers say that the new theory will only lead to more questions as to what materials exist in interstellar space.
This finding was published in a study on September 2 in Nature by astronomer Leen Decin of the Instituut voor Sterrenkunde in Belgium. Leen said in a statement, “It makes us realize that the chemistry in all stars can be much more complex than we thought it was”.
The carbon star around which the water vapor was found is 6 billion years old and is nearing the end of its life releasing more carbon than oxygen in into atmosphere. However astronomers did not expect water vapor around the star because it was thought that all the oxygen would be bound up in carbon monoxide which is a stable molecule.
The study says that the water vapor of unknown temperatures was first discovered in 2001. Many proposals were put forth to solve the mystery one being that the icy planets and comets were vaporized as the star expanded outward.
The Herschel satellite that was launched in 2009 was able to test the theory which let astronomers collect information such as the possible temperature of the water vapor around the star. The result was varying temperature among the water vapor.
Astronomers have already found water vapor around other stars using the Hershel satellite but the results were not yet released. Water vapor and carbon are essential building blocks of life on Earth.