“Water, Water, Everywhere…”

A single interconnected ocean covers more than 70% of our home planet, and yet we have still never satisfactorily explained where all of this water actually came from. Hypotheses abound, but concrete evidence has always proved elusive. Luckily, a team of astronomers led by Ilsedore Cleeves recently published data that might finally shed some meaningful light on the matter. Their models show that much (and perhaps even most) of the water here on Earth predates the formation of the solar system altogether. Water was apparently already present in the gaseous nebula from which the Sun and planets eventually coalesced. What’s more, these astronomers infer that our solar system is not unique, and that all young planetary systems might contain large quantities of interstellar ice. In other words, water might also prove abundant on other planets. To learn more, check out the links here and here. Meanwhile, as if on cue, another team of astronomers led by Jonathan Fraine recently confirmed that they had detected signs of water vapor in the atmosphere of a Neptune-sized exoplanet for the first time. To learn more, check out the links here and here. And finally, speaking of Neptune, who was, after all, the god of the ocean, the image in the overhead banner is taken from “King Neptune,” one of Disney’s classic Silly Symphonies from the 1930s. Click here to learn more, and click here to watch “King Neptune” in its entirety.