A stellar fingerprint

Showcased at the centre of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is an emission-line star known as IRAS 12196-6300.

Located just under 2300 light-years from Earth, this star displays prominent emission lines, meaning that the star’s light, dispersed into a spectrum, shows up as a rainbow of colours marked with a characteristic pattern of dark and bright lines. The characteristics of these lines, when compared to the “fingerprints” left by particular atoms and molecules, can be used to reveal IRAS 12196-6300’s chemical composition.

Under 10 million years old and not yet burning hydrogen at its core, unlike the Sun, this star is still in its infancy. Further evidence of IRAS 12196-6300’s youth is provided by the presence of reflection nebulae. These hazy clouds, pictured floating above and below IRAS 12196-6300, are created when light from a star reflects off a high concentration of nearby dust, such as the dusty material still remaining from IRAS 12196-6300’s formation.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

About the Image

Id:potw1609a
Type:Observation
Release date:29 February 2016, 06:00
Size:1937 x 1734 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 12196-6300
Type:Milky Way : Star
Distance:2300 light years
Constellation:Crux
Category:Stars

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
351.9 KB

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1024x768
422.5 KB
1280x1024
752.9 KB
1600x1200
1.2 MB
1920x1200
1.5 MB
2048x1536
2.0 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):12 22 23.14
Position (Dec):-63° 17' 23.74"
Field of view:1.64 x 1.47 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 8.2° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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