WATER IN THE UNIVERSE

Professor Jonathan Tennyson of UCL

Friday 21st January 2022

 

Professor Tennyson gave us a very informative and enlightening talk about water in the universe.

He told us how water exists on many of the moons of the solar system, including our own! In the high sided craters of the moon where the sunshine rarely reaches, water can be found. This could be useful if mankind goes back to the moon for any length of time.

Water exists in the gas clouds where star formation takes place. Would you believe there is also water on the Sun? In the cooler sunspots, water, in vapour form, has been detected.

It has also been detected in comets, thought to be the means by which water came to be on Earth. Although there is a thought that water may have already existed on the Earth as it cooled.

Much interest has been generated by water being detected on many moons in the solar system. Namely Ganymede, Europa, Callisto, Enceladus and Titan.

Using spectroscopy, water has been detected in exoplanets too. Jonathan showed us charts and images of the possibility of water on K2 18b, a planet orbiting its star K2 in a 33 day orbit. It falls into the star’s habitable zone and has drawn much interest amongst scientists. It orbits near enough to its star to be able to study it at length.

With hydrogen and oxygen abounding in space, I suppose it is a foregone conclusion that there is water, water everywhere. But can you drink it!!!

Marilyn Bentley

Chairperson