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Icy Organic Materials in the Disks of Young Stars

Astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered icy, organic materials in dusty discs around infant stars.

Using Spitzer's infrared spectrograph, they have detected the signatures of icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide.

The discovery supports the theory that comets in the early solar system must have supplied Earth with water and biogenic, life-enabling materials.

The ices were discovered in the disks of young stars in the constellation Taurus, 420 light-years from Earth.

The presence of such organic materials in space has been known for decades. This is the first time they have been detected in planet-forming discs.

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