Hubble Captures Stunning Birthplace Of Young Stars Swaddled In Gas And Dust Clouds

hero nasa hubble trio stars
Hubble has captured an incredible image of a trio of young stars from what NASA refers to as “hollowed-out cavity of a reflection nebula.” The triple-star system comprises the variable star HP Tau, HP Tau G2, and HP Tau G3.

While NASA’s newer and more advanced Webb Space Telescope may send back astounding images of its own, Hubble is still capturing cosmic wonders as well. NASA recently showed off an image that Hubble captured as the space agency’s Image Of The Day, which highlighted a triple-star system.

nasa hubble trio stars chart

HP Tau is a T Tauri star, or a young variable star that has yet to begin nuclear fusion, according to NASA. While it has yet to reach nuclear fusion, it has begun to evolve into a hydrogen-fueled star similar to Earth’s Sun. These types of stars are typically younger than 10 million years old, while Earth’s Sun is believed to be approximately 4.6 billion years old.

One feature that Hubble captured is that the trio of stars were still found “swaddled in the clouds of dust and gas from which they formed.” The cloud of gas and dust is wrapped around the young stars and shines reflected light. NASA remarked that reflection nebulae do not emit visible light of their own, but the light from nearby stars bounces off the gas and dust.

The brightness of variable stars, such as HP Tau, changes over time. Scientists and astronomers theorize that this may be because of the chaotic nature of a developing star. One line of thought is that periodic changes could be because of giant sunspots rotating in and out of view.

HP Tau is located around 550 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. Hubble’s image of the trio of stars was part of an investigation into protoplanetary disks, or the disks of material around stars that coalesce into planets over millions of years.