This graphic illustrates a stellar fountain of crystal rain, beginning with a NASA Spitzer picture of the star in question, and ending with an artist's concept of what the crystal 'rain' might look like.
Add image to your album
Email this page Post this page to your Facebook wall Tweet this page

Finding Forsterite Around a Developing Star

figure 1 for PIA14099figure 2 for PIA14099figure 3 for PIA14099
Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3
Click on an individual image for larger view

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detected tiny green crystals, called olivine, thought to be raining down on a developing star. This graphic illustrates the process, beginning with a picture of the star and ending with an artist's concept of what the crystal "rain" might look like.

The top picture was taken in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. An arrow points to the embryonic star, called HOPS-68. The middle panel illustrates how the olivine crystals are suspected to have been transported into the outer cloud around the developing star, or protostar. Jets shooting away from the protostar, where temperatures are hot enough to cook the crystals, are thought to have transported them to the outer cloud, where temperatures are much colder. Astronomers say the crystals are raining back down onto the swirling disk of planet-forming dust circling the star, as depicted in the final panel.

Image details

ID#:
PIA14099

Date added:
2011-05-26

Mission:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Spacecraft:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Instruments:
Infrared Array Camera (IRAC)

Rating:



Views:
4,639

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA14099.tif (19.5 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA14099.jpg (0.44 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Toledo