By Sherrie, Learning Mind, May 18, 2015
Water is thought to be one of the unique characteristics of the earth. Recently, however, this idea was proven wrong. It seems that water could be a common factor with many other planets.
Over 500 light-years away, a white dwarf star SDSS J1242+5226, found in the Ursa Major constellation, is leaving scientists in awe. Researchers at the University of Warwick suggest that this star has the volume of 30-35% of the earth’s water. How water arrived at this star is significant. Scientists believe a large asteroid provided the planet’s water supply. This asteroid is thought to have been about the size of Ceres in our own solar system.
Dr. Robert Raddi, astronomer at the University of Warwick says:
“Water-rich asteroids are common and similar to those in our solar system. In fact, many planets may contain water volume much like the earth.”
Scientists agree that the earth was originally dry, gathering water from the nearby asteroids as time went by. This has been established. To understand this notion, the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands was used to detect hydrogen and oxygen, which is simply what water is made from. These constituents would be found in the atmosphere of a remnant star.
Dr. Boris Gansicke, co-author from the University of Warwick, says:
“Over time, oxygen, a heavy element, will sink deep and cannot be seen. On the other hand, hydrogen will be seen near the surface, due to its light weight. Many dwarf stars have hydrogen in their atmosphere, gathered by water-rich asteroids. These are common around stars other than our sun.”
Findings are located in the journal Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society.
Finding life on other planets
One of the factors related to finding life on other planets is recognizing heavenly bodies located in the Goldilocks zone or the habitual zone. This would contribute to finding planets warm enough for liquid water to form.
We really have no idea how many planets have sustainable water supplies. It seems this is more common than scientists once believed. We were wrong. It seems that water is not a unique characteristic of earth but it is an appreciated substance of life. Maybe others in our universe feel the same way.