Astronomers find ‘missing link’ to Solar System water

A protostar 1000 light years away was the key

This artist’s impression shows the planet-forming disc around the star V883 Orionis. In the outermost part of the disc water is frozen out as ice and therefore can’t be easily detected. An outburst of energy from the star heats the inner disc to a temperature where water is gaseous, enabling astronomers to detect it. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada