While the cosmic lightsaber doesn’t bring in the same money being viewed as the newly released Star Wars: The Force Awakens, its presence is even more mind-boggling and more realistic. Something we can truly wrap our heads around.
According to ABC News, a newborn star’s image was located 1,350 light years from Earth, resembling the lightsaber. Keep in mind that a single light year’s distance is equal to about 6,000,000,000,000 miles. Twin turbo jets streamed right into the Milky Way causing the ‘lightsaber’ effect. Take a minute and wrap your heads around that number, considering the power behind the event.
Witnessing this extraordinary view, the Star Wars geeks may imagine this phenomenon as a dual-bladed lightsaber. NASA scientists have a logical explanation, one that Star Trek fans may appreciate hearing from Spock as something completely natural.
The Hubble team explains this unusual site as gasses falling down to permeate a hidden protostar and inundating the molecular cloud, expanding the solar-mass star resembling the lightsaber. From here, the quantifiable mass becomes superheated. As the pressure builds, opposite ends of the star are forced open, propelling a direct emission. All that remains is the star’s rotation axis.
This lightsaber also happens to be inside the tempestuous area new stars known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex. And as the mighty streams strike their surroundings, they form nebulous “twisted and tangled tree trunks” stretching through space, according to a CBS News report. They’re known as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, and the “lightsaber” as HH 24.
Only a few HH jets have been seen within this area, some in visible light and others in infrared, such as this lightsaber. The image at the top of the post was taken with infrared light. The reason is that the telescope is capable of gathering data right through the dust and gas that encompass the newly created stars, perfect targets for the arriving James Webb Space Telescope at NASA.
The European Space Agency (ESA) will be launching the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in October of 2018, in hopes of seeing this lightsaber and other equally mystifying sensations. This telescope has instruments sensitive enough to detect the smallest disturbances, yet strong enough to endure the travel up to 930,000 miles from Earth for clear and concise readings. For a clearer understanding of this satellite, the Hubble’s altitude is a mere 347 miles from our planet. But because of the marks Hubble has given us since first being released on April 24, 1990, the JWST will pick up where it’s left off.
When the JWST takes photos of extraordinary events, such as the lightsaber, the images will be considerably clearer with a higher resolution. With this in mind, our space discoveries are right on track, and it won’t be much longer until we’re able to battle the forces of evil on the outer edges of space.
“Intertwined by magnetic fields, the bipolar jets blast into space at over 100,000 mph.”
Former astronaut and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s associate administrator, Jun Grunsfeld says,
“Science fiction has been an inspiration to generations of scientists and engineers, and the film series Star Wars is no exception.”
We may remember Spock saying, “There is no reason that function should not be beautiful—in fact beauty usually makes it more effective.” In this instance, whether you are a “Trekky” from Star Trek or an “Enforcer” from Star Wars, may the force of the cosmic lightsaber be with you, because the heat from the embryonic star would be much too hot for humans hands to handle.
[Photo artist’s impression via NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)]