Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 16:31 EDT
LRLL 54361 Light Echo  Hubble
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LRLL 54361 Light Echo — Hubble

February 13, 2013
This 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 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 false color, near-infrared-light photos are from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. Object Names: LRLL 54361, L54361 Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Muzerolle (STScI), E. Furlan (NOAO and Caltech), K. Flaherty (University of Arizona/Steward Observatory), Z. Balog (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy), and R. Gutermuth (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)