JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Variable star and disk. Image 4 of 4. Artwork of the young star at the tip of McNeil's Nebula. Surrounding the star is a protoplanetary disk. McNeil's Nebula is a variable nebula that was discovered in January 2004. It is variable because the young star at its tip varies in brightness. Here, the star is in an active phase and material from the disk is falling onto the star, causing an increase in brightness and loss of material from the disk (streaming off in upper frame). The increase in brightness led to the detection of the surrounding nebula (not fully shown). The star is some 1500 light years distant in the constellation of Orion. The activation is shown in R670/084-087.
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