Protostellar Object LRLL 54361 Emits Pulsing Beacon of Light

Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Muzerolle (STScI)
NASA, ESA, and J. Muzerolle (STScI)

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a time-lapse movie of a mysterious protostar that behaves like a flashing light. Every 25.34 days, the object, designated LRLL 54361, unleashes a burst of light which propagates through the surrounding dust and gas. This is only the third time this phenomenon has been observed, and it is the most powerful such beacon seen to date. It is also the first to be seen associated with a light echo.

These near-infrared light images are from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

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