Subscribe

Newborn star shoots 'lightsaber' into space. A cosmic nod to Star Wars?

In what could be the galaxy's reaction to the most highly anticipated film of the year, Hubble beams down images of a light stream that appear to have been inspired by 'Star Wars.'

  • close
    A cosmic lightsaber.
    ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Padgett (GSFC), T. Megeath (University of Toledo), and B. Reipurth (University of Hawaii)
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Could Thursday’s Hubble Space Telescope image, featuring a “double-bladed lightsaber” shooting through a “dark Jedi-like cloak of dust,” be a cosmic nod to the highly anticipated release of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”?

Probably not.

But according to Hubble’s announcement, unabashedly strewn with "Star Wars" references, the stream of light is coming from our own galaxy, 1,350 light-years away.

The telescope, which is operated by NASA and the European Space Agency, shot the image in infrared light, which allowed it to capture a clear picture through the gas and dust obstructing the fledgling star.

The light stream that’s visible, which the Hubble press release likens to Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber from the 1999 Star Wars installment, “The Phantom Menace,” is actually two streams shooting out from opposite ends of a newly formed star, which in the image is hidden in the center by clouds of dust and gas.

The light beam is located in the Orion Complex, which is a part of the Orion constellation, a fertile region for forming stars.

Here, embryonic stars, called protostars, gather disks of gas that have the potential to turn into solar systems like our own. The growing stars, with a “Jabba-like appetite” explains the team behind Hubble, feeds off the gas. When enough gas has been gathered, the star awakens, ejecting jets of gas from its poles. As the jets travel at high speeds in separate directions, the friction heats the gas surrounding the jets to thousands of degrees.

“Their effect on their environment demonstrates the true power of the Dark Side with a blast stronger than one from a fully armed and operational Death Star battle station,” the press release reads.

These interstellar light beams are called Herbig–Haro (HH) objects. The one shown in today’s Hubble image is dubbed HH 24.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK