Hubble Space Telescope 1.6 micron images taken at two epochs corresponding to pulse phases of 0 (a) and 0.3 (b). North is up and east is to the left. LRLL 54361 is the extended source to the lower left; the point source at upper right is another young star, LRLL 1843. The light from LRLL 54361 subtends roughly 14” (~4000 AU at the distance of the IC 348 region) in (a), and about 50” (~15,000 AU) in (b). Most if not all of this light is likely the result of scattering of circumstellar dust in the protostellar envelope. An apparent edge-on disk is visible in the center, and 3 separate structures indicative of outflow cavities extend to the northwest, southwest, and northeast. The extent and morphology of the scattered light changes substantially between epochs as a result of the propagation of the pulse peak light.
Photo courtesy of Robert Gutermuth
Here we report that the infrared luminosity of a young protostar (of age about 105 years) increases by a factor of ten in roughly one week every 25.34 days. We attribute this to pulsed accretion associated with an unseen binary companion. The strength and regularity of this accretion signal is surprising; it may be related to the very young age of the system, which is a factor of ten younger than the other pulsed accretors previously studied…>>>more