The image below is an artist's conception of the surface of the
10 Myr-old star TW Hydrae (TW Hya). This young star is surrounded by
a disk of gas and dust (the dull orange ring-like structure at the
edge of the frame). Material from the inner edge of the disk rains
onto the stellar surface, as indicated by the white, wispy trails.
Once this gas hits the star, it produces bright spots. The energy of
the accreted gas produces a wind of outflowing material, shown by the
At a distance of only 100 light years, TW Hya is the nearest young
star with an opaque circumstellar disk. CfA scientists in the
Radio and Geoastronomy
division use the Submillimeter
Array to study the structure and chemistry of the disk. In the
SSP division, scientists use
the MMT, and other ground-based
and satellite telescopes to study the accreted gas and the ejected
material in this and other young stars.