Hubble Telescope has captured a spectacular laser-like jet from a young star
The “tantrum” came from a star just being formed.
A laser-like jet caught by the Hubble Space Telescope represents a “tantrum” thrown by a young star.
The outburst erupted from a very young star that was just beginning to evolve, and the image shows a supersonically flying jet of gas. Officials from the European Space Agency (ESA) noted in an image explanation on Monday that the light shown in the photograph is caused by the jet interacting with gas and dust around the star (March 7).
“The result,” the officials stated, “is the colorfully wispy structures billowing over the lower left of this image, which astronomers refer to as Herbig–Haro objects.” (Herbig-Haro objects are bright patches of gas, or nebulosity, near newborn stars.)
It’s not the first time Hubble has caught this object on camera. The telescope trained its eyes on the area, called HH34, between 1994 and 2007 and in extreme high-definition in 2015, ESA noted.
HH34 is located around 1,250 light-years from Earth and is part of the famed Orion Nebula, which Hubble has photographed numerous times throughout the years. The nebula in Orion is known for its starbirth areas, and Hubble has an edge in seeing it because it is the closest stellar nursery to Earth.
The new imagery, according to ESA, will be useful for future science with the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope, which is currently in commissioning until around June.
“Webb — which will observe at predominantly infrared wavelength — will be able to peer into the dusty envelopes surrounding still-forming protostars, revolutionizing the study of jets from these young stars,” ESA officials wrote. “Hubble’s high-resolution images of HH34, and other jets, will help astronomers interpret future observations with Webb.”