Light echo around LRLL 54361

This sequence of images from the NASA/ESA 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 centre of the object, and three separate structures are interpreted as outflow cavities. The extent and shape of the scattered light changes substantially over a 25.3-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 a binary pair of forming stars. This unleashes a blast of radiation each time the stars get close to each other in their orbit.

These near-infrared light images are from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and J. Muzerolle (STScI)

About the Image

Id:heic1303c
Type:Collage
Release date:7 February 2013, 19:00
Related releases:heic1303
Size:1351 x 906 px

About the Object

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

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BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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