Sounds like a LaserQuest game taking place right here in the universe. From the center of the image, two straight rays of focused energy travel into space, in opposite directions. The ‘jet’ up right is pointing slightly towards us; The other points are further away from us, which makes them less noticeable. The source of the celestial fireworks is hidden from view by thick clouds of dust.
What we see here could be called the cry of the birth of a new star. This “protostar” is still surrounded by the dark gas and dust cloud from which it formed. The star still attracts material from its environment; Some are blown into space at high speed along the star’s rotation axis, possibly due in part to the strong magnetic fields.
Thermal radiation from the incoming star was detected already in the early 1980s by the American-Dutch satellite IRAS (InfraRed Astronomical Satellite). According to measurements, the size of the star is at least 25 times the mass of the Sun. Thought to be a binary star: The Spitzer Space Telescope detected a second set of jets, rotated about 60 degrees from the beams in this image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The beams are made of rarefied but hot gas, at a speed of 300 to 600 kilometers per second. When gas collides with thinner interstellar material, arc shocks and shock waves form. Astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro discovered many of these small, bright structures in star-forming regions in the middle of the last century. So they are called Herbig-Haro things; The version in the picture is 111 HM.
Imaging the beams over the years with the Hubble telescope has enabled astronomers to record their motion. Everything seems to indicate that the current structure is about eight hundred years old at most.
HH 111 is located in the Orion Nebula, about 1,300 light-years from Earth. Together, the two planes are at least 2.5 light-years long. In the not too distant future, all the surrounding dust has flown out and a new giant star is shining here.
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