Protoplanetary Disks in Molecular Cloud LDN 1551

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About this Image

Scientists used the VLA to make this image of a stellar nursery -- a giant cloud of gas and dust called LDN 1551 -- some 450 light-years distant in the constellation Taurus, where stars the size of the Sun or smaller are being formed. They aimed at one particular object, that, based on previous infrared and radio observations, was believed to be a very young star. The VLA observations showed that the object was not a single young star but a pair of young stars, separated only slightly more than the Sun and Pluto. The VLA images show that each star in the pair is surrounded by an orbiting disk of dust, extending out about as far as the orbit of Saturn. Such dusty disks, known as protoplanetary disks, are believed to be the material from which planets form. The colors in this image represent relative intensity, or brightness, of the radio emission coming from these disks; red is strong emission and blue is weak emission. The scale bar shows a distance of 20 Astronomical Units (AU). An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Investigator(s):  Luis Rodriguez, David Wilner, Paola D'Alessio, Salvador Curiel, Yolanda Gomez, Susana Lizano, Jorge Canto, Alejandro C. Raga, Paul Ho, Jose M. Torrelles, and Alan Pedlar

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Technical Data

    Telescope VLA 
    Date of Observation 1998-00-00 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band Q 
    Wavelength 7 mm 
    Frequency 45 GHz 
    Center of Image RA: 04:31:33.90, Dec: 18:08:15.00 (J2000)  
    Field of View 0.0000 x 0.0000 degrees  
    Technical Caption  

  • Astronomical database entries for LDN 1551
    • Query NED for images of LDN 1551
    • Query SIMBAD for more LDN 1551 data


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