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06.14.16

Dimming of FU Orionis (Brighter Phase Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept illustrates how the brightness of outbursting star FU Orionis has been slowly fading since its initial flare-up in 1936. The star is pictured with the disk of material that surrounds it. Researchers found that it has dimmed by about 13 percent at short infrared wavelengths from 2004 to 2016.

This illustration represents the brighter disk inferred from 2004 data that was collected with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

FU Orionis is a few hundred thousand years old. It is possible that when our sun was younger, it also went through a period of intense brightening followed by dimming.