- Art by Judy Schmidt

LkHA 263C (2014)

Kind of an odd one. There are four notable stars, here. One at the lower right, a close binary at the upper left, and then there is one wrapped in a tiny protoplanetary disk just up and to the left of the binary pair. That protoplanetary disk is LkHA 263C. It looks very similar to Gomez’s Hamburger which I (and others) incorrectly labelled as a preplanetary nebula. I knew it didn’t look much like the other preplanetaries but until now I didn’t realize it wasn’t one at all. Oops! The terrible naming of planetary nebulas sure didn’t help with this one, either. Oh, the diffraction spikes for these stars form a spacey hashtag—a little bit funny.

(Idle speculation follows) LkHA 263C is kind of interesting because it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like others associated with Orion. It just happens to be visually close to this binary star system. I definitely didn’t expect it to be in this picture and almost skipped over the image completely until I saw it. Not that it’s weird for protoplanetary disks to be in one place or another, it just seems weird to me to see one so far from similar activity. It’s very cool that they could be anywhere in the galaxy and if the circumstellar disk is thick enough we might not even be able to see them at all. Hmm.

This object was imaged for proposal 10603 as part of a study on various edge-on protoplanetary disks.

Red: HST_10603_02_ACS_WFC_F814W_sci
Green: Pseudo
Blue: HST_10603_02_ACS_WFC_F555W_sci

North is up.

Copyright information:
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.