May the power be with you! Hubble telescope captures blue gas jet in Orion constellation that looks like a LIGHTSABER
- The Hubble Space Telescope captured a picture of a Herbig-Haro object that looks like a lightsaber
- HH111 is a ‘relatively rare celestial phenomenon’ and is located in the constellation Orion
- Herbig-Haro objects occur when stars are newly formed and they jets throw off fast-moving ionized gas’
- The photo was taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, which can see in visible and infrared light
The power is strong with this one.
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a picture of a Herbig-Haro object in the constellation Orion that looks strikingly similar to a Star Wars lightsaber.
This “relatively rare celestial phenomenon,” known as HH111, was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), according to a statement from the European Space Agency.
“These spectacular objects are formed under very specific conditions,” said the ESA.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured a picture of a Herbig-Haro object that looks like a lightsaber, known as HH111
This object is a ‘relatively rare celestial phenomenon’ and is located in the constellation Orion (pictured)
Hubble’s WFC3 creates images in visible and infrared light, allowing astronomers to see objects through the gas and dust of space more clearly.
The ESA added that when new stars form, they are often very active, throwing off “jets of fast-moving ionized gas.”
This gas gets so hot that “the molecules and atoms have lost their electrons, making the gas highly charged,” the ESA explained.
The ionized gas eventually collides with the gas and dust clouds surrounding the newly formed stars at hundreds of kilometers per second.
But because they give off so much light at optical wavelengths, they’re hard to see.
“Therefore, the WFC3’s ability to observe at infrared wavelengths – where observations are not as affected by gas and dust – is crucial for successfully observing Herbo-Haro objects,” the ESA added.
According to NASA, Herbig-Haro objects are “bright patches of nebula associated with newborn stars.”
They generally take the form of thin jets of partially ionized gas in deep space that are “ejected from stars colliding with nearby clouds of gas and dust,” the US space agency added.
In 2015, Hubble took a photo of another Herbig-Haro object, HH24, which also resembles a lightsaber.
NASA went so far as to mention Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and the fact that it looks like a “cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber” in its Description.
HH24 is located in the molecular cloud complex Orion B, about 1,350 light-years from Earth.
The photo was taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, which can see in visible and infrared light
Last month, Hubble’s WFC3 was responsible for releasing an image of a stellar nursery, AFGL 5180, 5,000 light-years from Earth.
The Hubble, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, will be replaced by the $10 billion James Webb Telescope upon launch later this year.
Scientists study the atmospheres of distant exoplanets using huge space satellites like Hubble
Distant stars and their orbiting planets often have conditions unlike anything we see in our atmosphere.
To understand these new worlds, and what they are made of, scientists must be able to detect what their atmospheres consist of.
They often do this using a telescope similar to NASA’s Hubble telescope.
These huge satellites scan the sky and target exoplanets that NASA thinks may be of interest.
Here, the on-board sensors perform various forms of analysis.
One of the most important and useful is absorption spectroscopy.
This form of analysis measures the light coming from a planet’s atmosphere.
Each gas absorbs a slightly different wavelength of light, and when this happens, a black line appears on a full spectrum.
These lines correspond to a very specific molecule, indicating its presence on the planet.
They are often called Fraunhofer lines, after the German astronomer and physicist who first discovered them in 1814.
By combining all the different wavelengths of light, scientists can determine all the chemicals that make up a planet’s atmosphere.
The key is that what is missing provides the clues to find out what is there.
It’s vital that this be done by space telescopes, because then Earth’s atmosphere would interfere.
Absorption of chemicals in our atmosphere would skew the sample, so it’s important to study the light before it has a chance to reach Earth.
This is often used to search for helium, sodium and even oxygen in alien atmospheres.
This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of important compounds such as sodium or helium