Hubble sees glowing cosmic 'jet'

Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM
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GREENBELT, Md., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- NASA says the Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a glowing jet of material streaming from a relatively young star 460 light years away.

In the image a bright jet of glowing material being trailed by an intricate, orange-hued plume of gas and dust near the young, active star HL Tau, the space agency said Friday.

In their early development stars like HL Tau pull in material that falls towards them from the surrounding space and then forms a hot disc that swirls around the coalescing body, launching narrow streams of material from its poles.

These jets are shot out at speeds of several hundred per second and collide violently with nearby clumps of dust and gas, creating wispy, billowing structures known as Herbig-Haro objects, one of which has been captured in the Hubble image.

Such events are very common in star-forming regions but are short-lived, with their motion and evolution visible over very short timescales, sometimes on the order of years, NASA said.

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