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A Massive Star and Its Cradle
Sig10 011

Credit: ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Kraus

Observation • July 14th, 2010 • sig10-011

sig10-011

This star-forming region, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is dominated by the bright, young star IRAS 13481-6124 (upper left), which is about twenty times the mass of our sun and five times its radius, and is surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon. It is the first massive baby star for which astronomers could obtain a detailed look at the dusty disk closely encircling it. The research provides direct evidence that massive stars do form in the same way as their smaller brethren.

From this archival Spitzer image, as well as from observations done with the APEX 12-metre sub-millimetre telescope, astronomers discovered the presence of a jet, hinting at the presence of a disk. This was then confirmed by observations made with the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer.

This picture was taken with Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is a four-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is blue; 4.5-micron light is green; 5.8-micron light is orange; and 8-micron light is red. Dust appears red-orange and most stars are blue, though ones deeply embedded within dust (like IRAS 13481-6124) take on greenish-yellow tints.

About the Object

Name
IRAS 13481-6124
Type
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Young Stellar Object
Star > Spectral Type > O
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Protoplanetary
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Distance
10,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 5.8 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC

Astrometrics

Position (J2000)
RA =13h 51m 37.8s
Dec = -61° 39' 8.1"
Field of View
38.2 x 37.6 arcminutes
Orientation
North is up