Every few months it seems like space comes up with a new thing for scientists to wrap their nerdy little heads around. Considering the universe is an infinite, vacuous plain, it would appear as though space is just one big goody bag that we can reach our hands into and pull out some crazy, awesome treat we didn’t even know we wanted. Like a Take5!
So, what has the science world discovered this time? A star shooting water! Not to be confused with a water shooting-star, which is…I don’t know, different.
750 light years from earth, a star (100,000 years young, ya’ll) continuously shoots water from its poles at about 124,000 miles an hour. Located within the northern constellation of Perseus, this ‘squirter star’ was founded by ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory. The telescope picked up on the light signature of both hydrogen and oxygen, which come together briefly, forming liquid water on the star. The temperature of the star is a modest 180,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so once the droplets enter the gas-spewing jets, they’re vaporized and shot out of the star’s poles. However, once the vapor is far enough from the star, it slows down, cools, and returns to its liquid water state.
According to Lars Kristensen, a postdoctoral astronomer at Leiden University in the Netherlands, “If we picture these jets as giant hoses and the water droplets as bullets, the amount shooting out equals a hundred million times the water flowing through the Amazon River every second.”
So far, scientists have concluded that the universe may contain many of these ‘sprinkler-type’ systems, which may also contribute to the births of other stars. Space gardening? CHECK.