A shroud of thick gas and dust surrounds a bright young star in this view!

A thick veil of gas and dust surrounds a bright young star in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 has examined young stellar objects more than 9,000 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, helping astronomers understand the early stages of a massive star’s life. Known to astronomers as IRAS 05506+2414, the object could be an example of an explosion event caused by a massive young star system perturbation.



A swirling disk of material that surrounds a young star is normally ejected from the star in her two outflows of gas and dust. But for IRAS 05506+2414, a fan-shaped haze of matter spreads outward from the center of the image at speeds up to 217 miles per second (350 km per second).


Astronomers turned to Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and measured the distance to IRAS 05506+2414. Although it is possible to measure the speed of matter moving outward from the star, the astronomer cannot determine how far the star really is from Earth from his single observation. To determine star distance, they measured the distance that the effusion travels between successive images. From there we could deduce the distance to IRAS 05506+2414. Knowing that distance, astronomers can determine how bright the star is, how much energy it emits, and estimate its mass.


All of this is important information in determining the origin of this bright young star’s anomalous outflow.