Water in Main Belt Comet
Read the news release: https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2023/news-2023-123.html
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
· Illustration of Comet 238P/Read: NASA, ESA
· Infographic spectra comparison: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)
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A collage features images of planets, constellations and galaxies among the stars. A title, News from the Universe.
Text, Water in Main Belt Comet, May 18, 2023. Artist's concept.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has confirmed water vapor around a comet in the solar system's asteroid belt for the first time.
Water vapor surrounds an asteroid with an irregular pocked, gray surface.
Text, Finding water in the asteroid belt is an important clue in the ongoing investigation of water distribution in the early solar system, and how so much came to be on Earth.
Webb handed scientists a new mystery, however, when it did not detect carbon dioxide, which is typically present in comets. A graph depicts brightness and wavelength of light in microns. The graph compares comet 238 P and comet 103 P.
Text, Are these findings common to comets in the asteroid belt, or specific to this particular comet, Comet Read? Follow-up studies will be necessary to get a fuller picture.
This news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.