Celestial Lightsabers: Stellar Jets in HH24

  • Released Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Herbig-Haro objects showcase the long thin jets of emission that emanate from newborn stars, and they sometimes can resemble the double-bladed lightsabers from the Star Wars movies. This sequence combines a two-dimensional zoom and a three-dimensional flight to explore the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's striking image of the Herbig-Haro object known as HH24. The movie starts with a night sky view of the Orion constellation and zooms in. Located above the left side of Orion’s Belt is the vast dark nebula called the Orion B molecular cloud complex. Within this molecular cloud are many bright regions where stars are forming. This video closes in toward one particularly energetic example.

The movie then switches to an envisioned three-dimensional perspective. As the virtual camera flies into the dark nebula, the stars pass off-screen and the details of the forming stars and their jets of emission are revealed. The central star is hidden by gas and dust, but its prominent twin jets of emission resemble a cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber. The emission from the star has carved an hourglass-shaped cavity in the near side of the nebula. The jet from another stellar newborn in this region has created a cylindrical tunnel through the gas extending to the left. Careful study of the Hubble data reveals a few other jets heating and displacing the gas and dust around them. The nebula provides a vivid example of a gas cloud shaped by stellar emission.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA, ESA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz3D Team, STScI)

Acknowledgment: A. Fujii, Digitized Sky Survey (DSS), Palomar/Caltech, UKSTU/AAO, T. Rector (U Alaska Anchorage), H. Schweiker (WIYN), NOAO/AURA/NSF, Gemini Observatory, C. Aspin, the Hubble Heritage/Hubble-Europe Collaboration, D. Padgett (GSFC), T. Megeath (U Toledo), and B. Reipurth (U Hawaii)

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:46 PM EDT.


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