This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals new secrets of star birth as revealed in a pair of eerie spectacular jet of gas the star has ejected by a young star.
[top] - Tip to tip, this jet spans slightly more than a light-year. The fountainhead of this structure – the young star – lies midway between the jet, and is hidden from view behind a dark cloud of dust. The nearly symmetrical blobs of gas at either end are where the jet has slammed into interstellar gas.
[bottom left] - A close-up of a region near the star reveals a string of glowing clumps of gas, ejected by the star in machine-gun like burst fashion. This provides new clues to the dynamics of the star formation process. The jets are ejected from a whirlpool of gas and dust orbiting the young star.
[bottom right] - This arrowhead structure is a classic bowshock pattern produced when high-speed material encounters a slower-speed medium. Young stellar jets were discovered 20 years ago, in part due to visible- light observations of bright patches of nebulosity (called Herbig-Haro objects), which appear to be moving away from associated protostars.
The picture was taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. HH-1/ HH-2 lies 1,500 light-years away in the constellation Orion.
Credit: J. Hester (Arizona State University), the WFPC 2 Investigation Definition Team, and NASA