December 2015: Picture of the Month
A first look might suggest that this is a quasar (or a double-bladed lightsaber for the Star Wars fans). However, it is just two cosmic jets beaming from a newborn star, Herbig-Haro 24 (HH 24), some 1300 light years away in the stellar nurseries of the Orion Complex. These stunning jets, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, spanned about half a light year from HH 24. The protostar, hidden from view, is surrounded by cold dust and gas, flattened into a rotating accretion disk. As materials fall into the protostar, it heat up and these opposing jets are sent out along the system’s axis of rotation, producing glowing shock fronts along their path.
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