Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2007 December 13
Explanation: The orange star centered 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 1555/1554). 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 dramatic color image spans about 4 light-years at the estimated distance of T Tauri.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.