B. SAXTON & A. ANGELICH / NRAO / AUI / NSF / ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY B. SAXTON & A. ANGELICH / NRAO / AUI / NSF / ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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TW Hydrae 'snow line'. Computer illustration of the frozen rings (blue and green) of cosmic dust that surround the orange dwarf star TW Hydrae (bright, upper left), showing water ice-covered dust grains in the inner disc (blue) and carbon monoxide ice-covered grains in the outer disc (green). The transition from blue to green marks the carbon monoxide 'snow line'. The snow helps grains of dust to adhere to each other by providing a sticky coating, which is essential to the formation of planets and comets. Due to the different freezing points of different chemical compounds, different snow lines can be found at various distances from the star. TW Hydrae lies around 176 light years from Earth, in the constellation Hydra.
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