Blobs House Twin Stars
Sig10 006

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J. Tobin (University of Michigan)

Observation • May 20th, 2010 • sig10-006


New evidence from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is showing that tight-knit twin stars might be triggered to form by asymmetrical envelopes like the ones shown in this image. All stars, even single ones like our sun, are known to form from collapsing clumps of gas and dust, called envelopes, which are seen here around six forming star systems as dark blobs, or shadows, against a dusty background. The greenish color shows jets coming away from the envelopes. The envelopes are all roughly 100 times the size of our solar system.

Two of the six star systems are known to have already formed twin, or binary stars (Spitzer can see the envelopes but not the stars themselves). Astronomers believe that the irregular shapes of the envelopes, revealed in detail by Spitzer, might trigger binary stars to form, or might have already triggered them to form.

From top left, moving clockwise, the stars are: IRAS 03282+3035, CB230, IRAS 16253-2429, L1152, L483, HH270 VLA1. IRAS 03282+3035 and CB230 are the two known to have already formed binary stars.

Infrared light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns has been color-coded blue; 4.5-micron light is green; and 8.0-micron light is red.

About the Object

IRAS 03282+3035CB230IRAS 16253-2429L1152L483HH270 VLA1
Nebula > Type > Jet
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Protostar
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Protoplanetary

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC