When did H2O develop during the last 13.5 b y?

  1. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    There are quite a few models of how things developed during the first .0000000001 of a second after the big bang and so on. And I was wondering if there is a timeline for when water started to congeal out of this mass of expanding energy of the BB.

    Knowing this could lead to a better understanding of how long life has been developing, as well, in the universe. Its a sort of bio-archaeological approach to establishing a timeline and probability for the length of time that life has been evolving in the universe.

    What are the methods of determining the age of the development of something like water?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    You mean when the first oxygen atom happened to hit the first hydrogen molecule?

    I don't think it would. If you put a lot of atoms together in a high enough density cloud in space you will get lots of different bonds forming. It doesn't really mean anything.
    As to when it first formed in a planet's atmosphere, probably when all the stronger reducing agents had been used up and there was a chance for oxygen and hydrogen to get together.
     
  4. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    Yeah, kind of like that

    Does water need the environment of a planet to form?
     
  5. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    No, but does one in a billion water molecules in a molecular cloud of H, OH and O3 really signify anything?
     
  6. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    Probably not... but its a start!

    Is there any way to know when it started?
     
  7. As I understand it:
    t=0.1 seconds - primordial nucleosynthesis of ionized H
    t=300,000 years - universe cools to 3000K and allows electron capture; H atoms formed
    t=100 million years to 300 million years - universe cools to 30K; a Population III star allows the triple-alpha process and (CNO process) to create the first ionized O, O atoms, and O2 molecules

    Assuming that the first Pop III star formed at t=100 million years, and it took 3 million years for the first supernova ever, then H and O would have been in close proximity to each other at t=103 million years.

    You are assuming water-centric life. Hasn't Copernicus taught us that we are not special? *grin* For more information on water and planets and life, I recommend Astrobiology: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach by Lunine.


    Cheers,
    --Jake
     
  8. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    Very nice! Thank you.

    I'll have to get the book.
     
  9. Chronos

    Chronos 10,126
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    We can start with the observed abundance of H2O in our own soolar system. Comets are largely composed of water, so it is clear a very large amount of it formed in the very early solar system. How that happened is not entirely clear, but there is little dispute that it did. We still have much to learn about the mechanics of stellar formation. Save for our own sun, stars are at great distances, hence quantifying elemental and molecular abundances in their general vicinity is difficult. We do know that hydrogen and oxygen are abundant in the universe, and combine without great difficulty.
     
  10. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    So its not like a big surprise to find water out there... including on Mars? Comets fascinate me in that they are mostly made of ice. I wonder if some or all of the comets we see orbiting our solar system were formed when Mar's was impacted enough to have it lose half its crust. Perhaps more than just crustal material was ejected and perhaps its oceans were also sent reeling, only to become comets.
     
  11. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    Unlikely from orbital mechanics, getting ejecta from planets out into a kuiper belt comet orbit is tricky.
    The opposite is certainly possible, that a lot of water on the early Earth arrived from comet impacts. Although the present time ocean water seems not to have been from comets - based on estimates of deuterium abundance.
     
  12. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Liquid water does; needs the pressure of an atmosphere.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  13. Hello

    Water is formed from H and O. These elements are formed in the solar envelopes of stars.
     
  14. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    Assuming the liquid form of water needs the pressure of an atmosphere of a planet to form... can I ask when planets started forming during the timeline-model after the BB?
     
  15. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Gas giant planets could form any time after that first star - from the gas remnants around the star - though I'm not sure a pure hydrogen planet would have been possible (?). Planets with heavier elements have to weight for some super novas followed by the process of star formation again in the remnants. Not sure how H20 is relevant to the question.
     
  16. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    The thread is titled "when did H2O first develop during the last 13.5 billion years?

    Where does it say liquid water requires an atmosphere to be formed? And does the atmosphere have to be on a planet...

    If indeed water requires the atmosphere of a planet to form, then I can continue formulating the amount of time water-based Life has had to develop in the universe.

    Is there a timeline for when the first planets began to develop?

    Thank you... I'm not at all well versed in astrophysics but "gtring" was able to lay out a good short synopsis of the development of elements etc... and I think I'm getting far more efficient results asking my question here than if I was to use goggle. Thanks again!
     
  17. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    I meant your premise, not the OP:
    The boiling point of water, or any liquid, is dependent on the pressure surrounding the liquid. That is, the molecules of a liquid are constantly trying to escape the liquid. They escaping molecules form a vapor pressure above the liquid and they in turn form an equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere for a given temperature.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_point
    No atmosphere, no water in liquid form. It boils away immediately.

    For more details than the before's and after's I gave, I don't know. Up thread I thought there was something to start from.
     
  18. Yeah. I think I'm pretty cool too, baywax.

    So the question is now: When did the first atmospheric planets form? The first atmospheric planets could have formed around the first Population III stars, so that would be t=100 to 300 million years. We haven't found those Pop III stars yet, so this is theoretical speculation.

    In performing research, you need to make assumptions. Once again, you may be assuming that life needs water, and that water needs to be liquid, and that the liquid water needs to be on an atmospheric planet. I like to think a little bigger than that, personally. But that's the stuff for another thread.

    Cheers,
    --Jake
     
  19. baywax

    baywax 2,215
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    My premise is that with liquid water present somewhere, for the first time, in the universe, water based life would not be far.... ahead:uhh:

    That's very enlightening though... about H20 remaining liquid only if an atmosphere is present. Very cool. I'll have to look into the first formation of planets in one of those models of the expanding universe! Thank you mheslep.
     
  20. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Well I believe that's the premise for the intense search for water (ice) in our solar system. I don't know how soon life might follow water, but as I understand it liquid water is an absolute necessity for life as we know it.
     
  21. Nabeshin

    Nabeshin 2,200
    Science Advisor

    Seems on the case of earth at least that life arose extremely quickly after the conditions settled down. (on the order of tens of millions of years or something?)
     
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