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News Release 16 of 156

August 31, 2011 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2011-20

Hubble Movies Provide Unprecedented View of Supersonic Jets from Young Stars

Hubble Movies Provide Unprecedented View of Supersonic Jets from Young StarsGo to image download page Go to video downloads page

August 31, 2011: A team of scientists has collected enough high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope images over a 14-year period to stitch together time-lapse movies of powerful jets ejected from three young stars.

The jets, a byproduct of gas accretion around newly forming stars, shoot off at supersonic speeds in opposite directions through space. These phenomena are providing clues about the final stages of a star’s birth, offering a peek at how our Sun came into existence 4.5 billion years ago. Hubble’s unprecedented sharpness allows astronomers to see changes in the jets over just a few years’ time. Most astronomical processes change over timescales that are much longer than a human lifetime.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Hartigan (Rice University)