Wednesday, June 2, 2021

L 1551 IRSS

L 1551 IRS5 (also known as IRAS 04287+1801) is a young binary star, located at a distance of around 450 light years in the constellation of Taurus.

The star is around 500,000 years old and it is well known for its high activity. Thus, due to the latter and its proximity, it has become an Astronomer’s favourite source.

L1551 IRS5 is located at the edge of a dense molecular cloud known as L 1551 and it displays a jet structure that is aligned with molecular outflow structure with two distinct lobes (both blue and red shifted). 

The primary star has a mass of 0.7 solar masses and it will become a Sun-like star, while the second is much smaller (0.15 solar masses) and it will become a red dwarf.

Both stars are surrounded by gaseous dusty disks that could be a region where planets are currently forming. Recent observations have shown the presence of three circumstellar disks. The first one is the North Disk that is located at a distance of 13.3 ± 3.5 Astronomical Units (i.e., one AU is the mean Earth-Sun distance) that has an inclination of 35 ± 14°, while the South Disk is located at 14.0 ± 5.0 AU at an inclination of 45 ± 15°. The third disk is circumbinary and it further out, at a distance of 141.9 ± 7.4 AU at an inclination of 61 ± 1.7°.

Image: Composite optical image of L1551 IRS5 taken with the 8-metre Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. A blueshifted outflow from  L1551 IRS5 can be seen on the upper left of the image. It bursts through the cloud and it displays a shock just like a Herbig-Haro object. The image was created using narrow band filters that are focused on the emission of ionized hydrogen (Hα) and ionized sulfur ([SII]).

Image Credit: Malcolm Fridlund/Bo Reipurth/ Robert Gendler

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