Dusty Star Stands Out from the Rest

Wise_wise2012-003_1024

wise_WISE2012-003 April 25th, 2012

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

It's a dust bunny of cosmic proportions. Astronomers used images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, to locate an aging star shedding loads of dust (orange dot at upper left). Only one other star, called Sakurai's object, has been caught erupting with such large amounts of dust. The process is a natural part of aging for stars like our sun. As they puff up into red giants, they shed dust that is later recycled back into other stars, planets, and in the case of our solar system, living creatures.

In this image, infrared data from WISE and a past all-sky survey mission, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), have been combined. Color is used to show similar observations taken almost thirty years apart; the recent WISE data are color-coded green and red, while the older IRAS data are blue.

The picture reveals that the newfound dusty star, called WISE J180956.27330500.2, was not seen at all by IRAS, which surveyed the sky in 1983 (it is the only bright star in this field that does not have a corresponding blue halo). Astronomers say the star has brightened by a factor of 100. This appears to have been caused by a sudden eruption in the star around 15 years ago. Dust freshly created in this event is heated by starlight and glows at infrared wavelengths.

The image also demonstrates that WISE and its state-of-the-art technology produced, as expected, much crisper images than its predecessors. The blue IRAS data show both stars, and, higher up in the picture, interstellar dust.

Data from IRAS show 12-micron infrared light (blue); data from WISE show 12- and 22-micron infrared light (green and red, respectively).

Provider: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

Image Source: http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/gallery_dusty_star.html

Curator: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Berkeley, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Download Options

  • Full Size Image (2240 x 2240)

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
WISE J18103305
Subject - Milky Way
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Red Giant

Distance

Universescale1
12,000 light years
Wise_wise2012-003_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 18h 8m 53.3s
DEC = -33° 17’ 50.7”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
51.3 x 51.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Sagittarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue IRAS Infrared (Mid-IR) 12.0 µm
Green WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 12.0 µm
Red WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 22.0 µm
Blue represents infrared light collected at an earlier observation date (1983) than the other observations (2010)
Spectrum_ir1
Blue
Green
Red
Wise_wise2012-003_1280
×
ID
WISE2012-003
Subject Category
B.3.1.4.  
Subject Name
WISE J18103305
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Release Date
2012-04-25
Lightyears
12,000
Redshift
12,000
Reference Url
http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/gallery_dusty_star.html
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
distance estimates range from approximately 9,000 to 16,000 light years
Facility
IRAS, WISE, WISE
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Mid-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
12000, 12000, 22000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
B
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
272.2221957, -33.2974232
Reference Dimension
2240.0, 2240.0
Reference Pixel
1121.0, 1121.0
Scale
0.000382002, 0.00038200209
Rotation
-0.01
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
WCS retrieved using CXCs PinpointWCS
Creator (Curator)
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
URL
http://wise.astro.ucla.edu
Name
Email
outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
Telephone
Address
7 Gauss Way
City
Berkeley
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
94720
Country
USA
Rights
Pulic Domain
Publisher
Publisher ID
wise
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/wise/WISE2012-003
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-14T23:34:32Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
12,000 light years