News / Science & Technology

Hubble Spots 'Cosmic Caterpillar'

The "cosmic caterpillar," called IRAS 20324+4057, is a protostar in a very early evolutionary stage.
The "cosmic caterpillar," called IRAS 20324+4057, is a protostar in a very early evolutionary stage.

Related Articles

Video Titan's Surface More Rigid Than Thought, Says Study

Saturn's moon is of great interest because of its thick atmosphere and possible liquid ocean

Massive Volcano Erupts on Jupiter's Moon, Io

The eruption was bigger than any ever recorded on Earth

Video Mega Canyon Discovered in Greenland

The canyon is at least 750 kilometers long
VOA News
The Hubble space telescope has spotted what astronomers are calling a “cosmic caterpillar.”

The object, called IRAS 20324+4057, is actually a light-year-long knot of interstellar gas and dust scientists call a “protostar.” They said the object is “in a very early evolutionary stage.”

According to the Hubble website, harsh winds from extremely bright stars are blasting ultraviolet radiation and sculpting the gas and dust into the long shape.

Those bright stars are 65 of the hottest known to exist, classified as O-type stars. They are located 15 light-years away from IRAS 20324+4057, toward the right edge of the image.

These stars, along with 500 that are less bright but still highly luminous B-type stars, make up what is called the Cygnus OB2 Association. Collectively, scientists say the Association is thought to have a mass more than 30,000 times that of our Sun.

Protostars in this region should eventually become young stars, the scientists say,  with final masses about one to 10 times that of the Sun. But if the radiation from the nearby bright stars destroys the gas envelope before the protostars finish collecting mass, their final masses may be reduced.

Spectroscopic observations of the central star within IRAS 20324+4057 show that it is still collecting material quite heavily from its outer envelope and is expected to bulk up in mass. Scientists studying the Hubble data say that it is too early to say whether the new star would be a "heavy-weight" or a "light-weight" star with respect to its mass.

This image of IRAS 20324+4057 is a composite of Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys data taken in 2006, and ground-based data from the Isaac Newton Telescope in 2003. The object lies 4,500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid