Protostar LRLL 54361
Protostar LRLL 54361
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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2013-04
Release Date: Feb 7, 2013
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have teamed up to uncover a mysterious infant star that behaves like a police strobe light.

[Left] – This is a false-color, infrared-light Spitzer image of LRLL 54361 inside the star-forming region IC 348 located 950 light-years away. The Spitzer Space Telescope discovered an unusual variable object that has the typical signature of a protostar. The object emits a burst of light every 25.34 days.

[Center] – This Hubble Space Telescope monochromatic-color image resolves the detailed structure around the protostar, consisting of two cavities that are traced by light scattered off their edges above and below a dusty disk. The cavities were likely blown out of the surrounding natal envelope of dust and gas by an outflow launched near the central object.

[Right] – This is an artist's impression of the hypothesized central object that may be two young binary stars. Astronomers propose that the flashes are due to material in a circumstellar disk suddenly being dumped onto the growing stars and unleashing a blast of radiation each time the stars get close to each other in their orbit.


Tags
Astronomical, Hubble Telescope, Illustrations, Multiple Star Systems, Stars

Credits

NASA, ESA, J. Muzerolle (STScI), E. Furlan (NOAO and Caltech), K. Flaherty (University of Arizona/Steward Observatory), Z. Balog (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy), and R. Gutermuth (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Acknowledgment: R. Hurt (Caltech/Spitzer Science Center)