t tauri stars

Hubble Sees the Force Awakening in a Newborn Star

This celestial lightsaber does not lie in a galaxy far, far away, but rather inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way. It’s inside a turbulent birthing ground for new stars known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex, located 1,350 light-years away.

In the center of the image, partially obscured by a dark, Jedi-like cloak of dust, a newborn star shoots twin jets out into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe

Credit: NASA / ESA

Stellam Anulum

Ringed T Tauri Stars.

Rushing home, the universe tempts me to pause and witness some more wonders, this time in the form of ringed T Tauri stars. Three of them in one B-class star system

System Map: System Name - LEAMUAE EV-Y E5373

Primary: B-class Star

MR x2, GG4 x3. 6) TT (ringed), GG3, 8) TT (ringed), GG3, GG4, 11) TT (ringed), +R. GG3.

Spent 45 minutes scanning and exploring whole system. Took a chunk out of my target distance for the evening, but it was worth it.

LDN 988: Dark Nebula in Cygnus : Obscuring the rich starfields of northern Cygnus, dark nebula LDN 988 lies near the center of this cosmic skyscape. Composed with telescope and camera, the scene is some 2 degrees across. That corresponds to 70 light-years at the estimated 2,000 light-year distance of LDN 988. Stars are forming within LDN 988, part of a larger complex of dusty molecular clouds along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy sometimes called the Northern Coalsack. In fact, nebulosities associated with young stars abound in the region, including variable star V1331 Cygni shown in the inset. At the tip of a long dusty filament and partly surrounded by a curved reflection nebula, V1331 is thought to be a T Tauri star, a sun-like star still in the early stages of formation. via NASA

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T Tauri and Hind’s Variable Nebula
The yellowish star near center in this remarkable telescopic skyview is T Tauri, prototype of the class of T Tauri variable stars. Nearby it is a dusty yellow cosmic cloud historically known as Hind’s Variable Nebula (NGC 1555). Over 400 light-years away, at the edge of a molecular cloud, both star and nebula are seen to vary significantly in brightness but not necessarily at the same time, adding to the mystery of the intriguing region. T Tauri stars are now generally recognized as young (less than a few million years old), sun-like stars still in the early stages of formation. To further complicate the picture, infrared observations indicate that T Tauri itself is part of a multiple system and suggest that the associated Hind’s Nebula may also contain a very young stellar object. The naturally colored image spans about 4 light-years at the estimated distance of T Tauri.

Image Credit: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

(NASA)  T Tauri and Hind’s Variable Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Snyder (at Sierra Remote Observatories)

The yellowish star near center in this dusty telescopic skyview is T Tauri, prototype of the class of T Tauri variable stars. Just next door is the yellow cosmic cloud historically known as Hind’s Variable Nebula (NGC 1555). Over 400 light-years away, at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud, both star and nebula are seen to vary significantly in brightness but not necessarily at the same time, adding to the mystery of the intriguing region. T Tauri stars are now generally recognized as young (less than a few million years old), sun-like stars still in the early stages of formation. To further complicate the picture, infrared observations indicate that T Tauri itself is part of a multiple system and suggest that the associated Hind’s Nebula may also contain a very young stellar object. The naturally colored image spans about 7 light-years at the estimated distance of T Tauri. and Hind’s Variable Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Snyder (at Sierra Remote Observatories)
Explanation: The yellowish star near center in this dusty telescopic skyview is T Tauri, prototype of the class of T Tauri variable stars. Just next door is the yellow cosmic cloud historically known as Hind’s Variable Nebula (NGC 1555). Over 400 light-years away, at the edge of an otherwise invisible molecular cloud, both star and nebula are seen to vary significantly in brightness but not necessarily at the same time, adding to the mystery of the intriguing region. T Tauri stars are now generally recognized as young (less than a few million years old), sun-like stars still in the early stages of formation. To further complicate the picture, infrared observations indicate that T Tauri itself is part of a multiple system and suggest that the associated Hind’s Nebula may also contain a very young stellar object. The naturally colored image spans about 7 light-years at the estimated distance of T Tauri.

Cosmic forecast: dark clouds will give way to sunshine

Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night in this intriguing new image. Although gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within clouds such as Lupus 4 are where new stars form and where they will later burst into radiant life. The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile captured this new picture.

Lupus 4 is located about 400 light-years away from Earth, straddling the constellations of Lupus (The Wolf) and Norma (The Carpenter’s Square). The cloud is one of several affiliated dark clouds found in a loose star cluster called the Scorpius–Centaurus OB association. An OB association is a relatively young, yet widely dispersed grouping of stars. The stars likely had a common origin in a gigantic cloud of material.

Because the association, and its Lupus clouds, form the closest such grouping to the Sun, they are a prime target for studying how stars grow up together before going their separate ways. The Sun, along with most stars in our galaxy, is thought to have started out in a similar environment. 

American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard is credited with the earliest descriptions of the Lupus dark clouds in the astronomical literature, back in 1927. Lupus 3, neighbour to Lupus 4, is the best studied, thanks to the presence of at least 40 fledgling stars formed over the last three million years, and which are on the cusp of igniting their fusion furnaces. The main energy source in these adolescent stars, known as T Tauri stars, is the heat generated by their gravitational contraction. That is in contrast to the fusion of hydrogen and other elements which powers mature stars such as the Sun. 

Observations of the cold darkness of Lupus 4 have turned up only a few T Tauri stars. Yet promisingly for Lupus 4 in terms of future star formation is a dense, starless core of material in the cloud. Given a few million years, that core should develop into T Tauri stars. Comparing Lupus 3 and Lupus 4 in this way suggests that the former is older than the latter, because its contents have had more time to develop into stars. 

How many stars might eventually start to shine within Lupus 4? It is hard to say, as mass estimates for Lupus 4 vary. Two studies agree on a figure of around 250 times the mass of the Sun, though another, using a different method, arrives at a figure of around 1600 solar masses. Either way, the cloud contains ample material to give rise to plenty of bright new stars. Rather as earthly clouds make way for sunshine, so, too, shall this cosmic dark cloud eventually dissipate and give way to brilliant starlight.

Image credit: ESO

Hubble images remarkable double cluster

Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our neighbouring dwarf galaxies, this young globular-like star cluster is surrounded by a pattern of filamentary nebulosity that is thought to have been created during supernova blasts. It consists of a main globular cluster in the centre and a younger, smaller cluster, seen below, composed of extremely hot, blue stars and fainter, red T-Tauri stars. This wide variety of stars allows a thorough study of star formation processes.

Credit: ESA, NASA and Martino Romaniello (European Southern Observatory, Germany)