Alright, who left their lightsaber in front of the lens?
The stars and gasses of the cosmos, when viewed from afar, arrange themselves into incredible, fascinating shapes more frequently than you might think. Heck, the original constellations, named hundreds of years ago, were the result of early astronomers gazing out into the night sky. To see the true scope of the universe, though, we need the help of tried and true technology like the Hubble Space Telescope, which has stood vigil over the Earth for over 30 years. Earlier this week, the Hubble spotted something truly spectacular.
On Monday, the European Space Agency, which holds joint ownership over the Hubble with NASA, announced that the device had spotted a “relatively rare celestial phenomenon” out of its Wide Field Camera 3. This phenomenon, codenamed “HH111” and located in the Orion constellation, took the form of a gigantic stream of brightly colored gasses that look remarkably similar to an awesome space sword.
Hubble spots rare celestial object that looks like a space lightsaber https://t.co/pxjrKwzLgY
— CNET News (@CNETNews) August 31, 2021
The space sword is what’s known as a “Herbig–Haro object,” named after astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro. “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,” the ESA explained in their announcement. “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.”
Back in 2015, NASA shared another Hubble-captured image of a Herbig-Haro object in shape of a double-bladed lightsaber to celebrate the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I like to think that, when we’re not looking, enormous cosmic titans are using these objects in sword fights to decide the fate of the universe. Tell me that wouldn’t be awesome, I dare you.