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Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)
Showcased at the centre of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is an emission-line star known as IRAS 12196-6300.
Located just under 2300 light-years from Earth, this star displays prominent emission lines, meaning that the star’s light, dispersed into a spectrum,
shows up as a rainbow of colours marked with a characteristic pattern
of dark and bright lines. The characteristics of these lines, when
compared to the “fingerprints” left by particular atoms and molecules, can be used to reveal IRAS 12196-6300’s chemical composition
Under 10 million years old and not yet burning hydrogen at its core, unlike the Sun, this star is still in its infancy. Further evidence of IRAS 12196-6300’s youth is provided by the presence of reflection nebulae.
These hazy clouds, pictured floating above and below IRAS 12196-6300,
are created when light from a star reflects off a high concentration of
nearby dust, such as the dusty material still remaining from IRAS 12196-6300’s formation.