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Hubble Telescope Finds “Light Saber” in Space

NASA

Photo from NASA Hubble Telescope

Does Orion’s Belt really look like a belt? Does Orion really look like a person at all? Not really. But now there is a celestial body of some kind out there in the vastness of space that really does resemble a light sabre from Star Wars. It was recently discovered by NASA’s Hubble Telescope.

The light sabre can be seen inside of the Orion constellation. It is actually a big streak of gasses that are new stars in formation. So in a few million years the big light sabre will turn into new stars. Let’s hope we are still around to see that when it happens.

The European Space Agency (ESA) called this a “striking image” and explains that it features a relatively rare celestial phenomenon known as a Herbig–Haro object named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro. This Herbig–Haro object is called HH111, and was imaged by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). “These spectacular objects are formed under very specific circumstances. Newly formed stars are often very active, and in some cases they expel very narrow jets of rapidly moving ionized gas — gas that is so hot that its molecules and atoms have lost their electrons, making the gas highly charged,” it said.

The streams of ionized gas then collide with the clouds of gas and dust surrounding newly-formed stars at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second. It is these energetic collisions that create Herbig–Haro objects such as HH111.

“Newly formed stars are often very active, and in some cases they expel very narrow jets of rapidly moving ionized gas — gas that is so hot that its molecules and atoms have lost their electrons, making the gas highly charged,” said ESA. “The streams of ionized gas then collide with the clouds of gas and dust surrounding newly formed stars at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.”

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