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Unexplained hot water discovered around a giant star

Hot water discovered around a giant carbon star requires a new theory for the chemistry around stars to be explained. The new theory could significantly alter our understanding of what materials exist in interstellar space, and where water and life could exist in the universe.

“It makes us realise that the chemistry in all stars can be much more complex than we thought it was,” said astronomer Leen Decin of the Instituut voor Sterrenkunde in Belgium, lead author of the study published on 2 September in Nature. “If we don’t understand what is created from these old stars, we don’t know what the main ingredients of new stars and planets are made from.”

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