‘Silkworm’ in Hubble’s eyes

The ‘Cosmic Silkworm’ was spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope in the constellation Cygnus, 4,500 light-years from us. Astronomers were intrigued by the worm-shaped interstellar gas dust that lasted a light year.

The researchers say that the dust particle, known as IRAS 20324 + 4057, is a ‘protostar’. A protostar is a layer of dust that shrinks under gravity to form a new star. Extreme levels of ultraviolet light from nearby stars give the gaseous dust layer the shape of an elongated worm.

65 of the hottest known stars (O – type stars) make IRAS 20324 + 4057 this season. The hottest stars are located about 15 light-years away from that galaxy.

Data collected by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2006, when combined with images taken from the surface by the Isaac Newton Telescope 2003, yielded the image of the ‘cosmic silkworm’ (Credit:

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