Release Images

Release No.: 2005-30
For Release: Monday, September 19, 2005 - 8:00pm

First Baby Photo of Stellar Twins

Detailed infrared observations from the UKIRT telescope revealed a massive binary star system recently formed in the constellation Cygnus. In this pseudo-color image, longer-wavelength infrared light is represented as red while shorter-wavelength infrared is represented as blue.
The pink spot at the center of the image is the higher-mass primary star. To its lower right, a green spot marks the location of a less massive companion star seen here for the first time. The bright blue-white spots at left and upper right are cavities cleared in the surrounding circumstellar disk by an outflow from the newborn star system. The stars are seen along the plane of the edge-on disk, between the blue patches. The presence of a disk suggests that massive, multiple-star systems form the same way as the Sun, by gradually accreting material from a gaseous disk.

T.K. Sridharan (CfA), S.J. Williams & G.A Fuller (UMIST)