Spinning Top Star: Visible Light View
Ssc2007 19a1

Credit: Caltech/AURA

Observation • November 29th, 2007 • ssc2007-19a2


A rare, infrared view of a developing star and its flaring jets taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows us what our own solar system might have looked like billions of years ago. In visible light, this star and its surrounding regions are completely hidden in darkness.

Stars form out of spinning clouds, or envelopes, of gas and dust. As the envelopes flatten and collapse, jets of gas stream outward and a swirling disk of planet-forming material takes shape around the forming star. Eventually, the envelope and jets disappear, leaving a newborn star with a suite of planets. This process takes millions of years.

L1157 is located 800 light-years away in the constellation Cepheus.

About the Object

Star > Evolutionary Stage > Protostar
Nebula > Type > Jet
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Nebula > Appearance > Dark
815 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Optical 440 nm DSS
Optical 700 nm DSS
Optical 900 nm DSS


Position (J2000)
RA =20h 39m 6.1s
Dec = 68° 2' 16.0"
Field of View
17.5 x 21.6 arcminutes
North is 354.8° left of vertical