Outerspace is not empty space.
Space.Com: Weird Water in Space is Electrically Charged. (Hat tip: Fungus)
A new 'phase' of water that is electrically charged has been discovered in space for the first time.
The weird space water vapor was discovered in an interstellar dust cloud by the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory.
Unlike the three more familiar phases of water – namely solid ice, liquid water and gaseous steam – this newfound 'phase' doesn't occur naturally on Earth.
n the birth clouds surrounding young stars, ultraviolet light is pumping through the gas, and this irradiation can knock an electron out of the water molecule, leaving it with an electrical charge.
"This detection of ionized water vapor came as a surprise," said Arnold Benz of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. "It tells us that there are violent processes taking place during the early birth stages which lead to widespread energetic radiation throughout the cloud."
The detection of this weird form of water was announced Thursday during a major scientific symposium held at the European Space Agency (ESA), which runs the observatory, in Noordwijk, Netherlands.