graph demonstrating the presence of water and organic molecules in a protoplanetary disk

Astronomers Find Organics and Water Where New Planets May Grow |  John Carr of the Naval Research Laboratory and Joan Najita of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory developed a new technique to measure and analyze the chemical composition of the gases within protoplanetary disks using the infrared spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. They discovered large amounts of simple organic gases and water vapor in a possible planet-forming region around the infant star AA Tauri, which they report in the March 14 issue of Science magazine. Spitzer Press Release 08-02

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Naval Research Laboratory