TORONTO – It may be hard to believe that snow is falling in space, but that is just what astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have discovered.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) found a never-before-seen carbon monoxide (CO) snow line around TW Hydrae, a young star 175 light-years from Earth.
On Earth, snow lines form at high elevations and turn atmospheric moisture into snow. Astronomers believed that a similar process took place in space but with CO as well as other gases. The belief is that, in space, water ice freezes out first which is followed by carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide.
The discovery is an exciting one to astronomers since it sheds light on the formation of our own solar system. The CO snow line may be a precursor to the creation of methanol, which is a building block essential to life. Comets or asteroids could…
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