Remains of water-filled asteroid found around white dwarf

10/10/2013 | ScientificAmerican.com

A white dwarf about 170 light-years from Earth holds evidence of a water-bearing asteroid that could explain how the Earth got its oceans, according to research published in the journal Science. "We've got the same kind of object which probably delivered Earth's oceans, and we found this around another star," said Jay Farihi of the University of Cambridge in England, who led the research team. Scientists used the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope to study the dwindling star, finding several heavy elements that don't usually exist on a white dwarf, as well as an excess of oxygen, theorizing that the remnants of a water-filled asteroid landed there.

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