How LRLL 54361 flashes like a strobe light

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made a time-lapse movie of protostar LRLL 54361 as it sends flashes of light through the surrounding nebula.

This image shows:

On the left, an infrared image from the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope shows LRLL 54361 inside the star-forming region IC 348 located 950 light-years away. The Spitzer Space Telescope discovered the unusual flashing protostar here.

In the centre: This Hubble 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.

On the right: This artist’s impression represents scientists’ theory for how and why the protostar gives off these regular flashes of light. 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.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, J. Muzerolle (STScI), E. Furlan (NOAO, Caltech), and R. Hurt (Caltech)

About the Image

Id:heic1303d
Type:Artwork
Release date:7 February 2013, 19:00
Related releases:heic1303
Size:3018 x 1841 px

About the Object

Name:IC 348, LRLL 54361
Type:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Protostar
Distance:950 light years
Category:Illustrations
Stars

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