This Blue Space Tadpole Is Creating New Stars


What looks like a bright blue space tadpole swimming through the cosmos is actually a mass of gas and dust that is creating new stars.

The tadpole-shaped clump of stellar matter—IRAS 20324+4057 is home to a number of “protostars,” one of the earliest formations of a star. In fact, there are actually multiple protostars within its head, with the glowing yellow one being the most visible. When the young protostar has gathered enough mass it will breakaway and emerge as a fully-developed young star.

According to the ESA, “the intense blue glow is caused by nearby stars firing ultraviolet radiation at IRAS 20324+4057, which also sculpts its tail into a long, wiggly shape. In total, this clump spans roughly a light-year from head to tail-tip, and contains gas weighing almost four times the mass of the Sun.”

The star below the blue tadpole has been dubbed “the goldfish” by astronomers and is thought to be about half the length of IRAS 20324+4057, and also a globule of gas that is being both lit up and sculpted by radiation from cluster stars.

Currently the blue tadpole is making its way across the Cygnus OB2 association, if that space neighborhood sounds familiar at all.

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