Tantrums of a Baby Star: Herbig-Haro Objects

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Herbig Haro Objects

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This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, records the 2 Herbig-Haro items cataloged as HH46 and HH47, found in the constellation of Vela (The Sails), at a range of over 1400 light-years from Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Nisini

Herbig-Haro items are a few of the rarer sights in the night sky, taking the kind of thin spindly jets of matter drifting among the surrounding gas and stars. The 2 Herbig-Haro items cataloged as HH46 and HH47, seen in this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, were found in the constellation of Vela (The Sails), at a range of over 1400 light-years from Earth. Prior to its discovery in 1977 by the American astronomer R. D. Schwartz, the specific system by which these multi-colored items formed was unidentified.

Before 1997 it was thought by Schwartz and others that the items might be a kind of reflection nebula, or a kind of shock wave formed from the gas given off from a star connecting with the surrounding matter. The secret was lastly resolved when a protostar, hidden in this image, was found at the center of the long jets of matter. The outflows of matter, some 10 light-years throughout, were ejected from the freshly born star and strongly moved outwards at speeds of over 150 kilometers per second. Upon reaching the surrounding gas, the accident produced the intense shock waves seen here.



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