08 – ALMA Top 10: A Quintillion Tons of Table Salt is Found Orbiting a Young Star
New ALMA Observatory observations show there is ordinary table salt in a not-so-ordinary location: 1,500 light-years from Earth in the disk surrounding a massive young star. Though salts have been found in the atmospheres of old, dying stars, this is the first time they have been seen around young stars in stellar nurseries. The detection of this salt-encrusted disk may help astronomers study the chemistry of star formation as well as identify other similar protostars hidden inside dense cocoons of dust and gas.
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