K-band image of the peculiar star "Frosty Leo"
Frosty Leo is a magnitude 11 (post-AGB) star surrounded by an envelope of gas, dust, and large amounts of ice (hence the name). The associated nebula is of "butterfly" shape (bipolar morphology) and it is one of the best known examples of the brief transitional phase between two late evolutionary stages, asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and the subsequent planetary nebulae (PNe). For a three-solar-mass object like this one, this phase is believed to last only a few thousand years, the wink of an eye in the life of the star. Hence, objects like this one are very rare and Frosty Leo is one of the nearest and brightest among them. This image shows a 5 x 5 arcsec 2 K-band image of the peculiar star known as "Frosty Leo" obtained in 0.7 arcsec seeing. Although the object is comparatively bright (visual magnitude 11), it is a difficult AO target because of its extension of about 3 arcsec at visible wavelengths. The corrected image quality is about FWHM 0.1 arcsec.
About the Image
|Release date:||13 May 2003|
|Size:||821 x 678 px|
About the Object
|Type:||• Milky Way : Star|
• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
• X - Nebulae
|Distance:||10000 light years|
Colours & filters
|2.2 μm||Very Large Telescope Interferometer|