Strobe-like Flashes Discovered in a Suspected Binary Protostar (Annotated)

About this video
Duration: 10 seconds

This video, created from a sequence of images from the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a pulse of light emanating from the protostellar object LRLL 54361. Most if not all of this light results from scattering off circumstellar dust in the protostellar envelope. An apparent edge-on disk, visible at the center of the object, and three separate structures are interpreted as outflow cavities.

The extent and shape of the scattered light changes substantially over a 25.34-day period. This is caused by the propagation of the light pulse through the nebula. 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.

The false-color, near-infrared-light photos are from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.

HD Video, Multiple Star Systems, Scientific Visualizations, Stars


NASA, ESA, and J. Muzerolle, Z. Levay, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Publication: February 7, 2013

Learn more about this video in NewsCenter

HubbleSite's NewsCenter is the place to find the story behind this video, along with its original news release and all related material.