On May 4, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shared a photograph of a celestial “double-edged lightsaber” named H24, joining hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Star Wars Day. As # MayThe4thBeWithYou started following trends on Twitter, the official Hubble page shared a stunning image of two flames emerging from the newborn star. “In the center of the image, partially obscured by a dark cloak of Jedi-like dust, a newborn star launches twin jets into space as a sort of birth announcement to the universe,” said he wrote, describing the photograph. The US Space Agency further said the image was clicked just 1,350 light-years away.
‘Science fiction was an inspiration’
“Science fiction has been an inspiration to generations of scientists and engineers, and the Star Wars film series is no exception,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of the mission leadership NASA scientist. “There is no stronger justification for the motivational power of real science than the discoveries that come from the Hubble Space Telescope as it unveils the mysteries of the universe,” he added.
Since being shared, the photo has racked up over four thousand views and over two thousand likes. “Star Wars is a system space movie, they couldn’t survive the more physical era of the Star Trek movie,” one user wrote. “That’s great! Looks like a neutron star too with those plasma lines! Great photo!” added another. “It’s a huge lightsaber. Must conquer their world. On second thought, let’s look at it and hide under our desks,” added a third Twitter user.
Last week, Hubble captured a rare, breathtaking glimpse of a still-forming Jupiter-sized planet engulfing material surrounding a young star. The exoplanet dubbed PDS 70b is located 370 light years from Earth in the constellation Centauri and revolves around the orange dwarf star PDS 70. According to the NASA statement, the tiny exoplanet has two planets in active formation at inside a huge disk of dust and gas circling the star.
Scientists have observed that magnetic field lines extend from the planet’s circumplanetary disk to the exoplanet’s atmosphere and carry material to the planet’s surface. The PDS 70b sucks material from the young star and builds mass over millions of years. Using Hubble’s unique ultraviolet sensitivities, researchers were able to measure for the first time the rate of mass growth of PDS 70b that began to form about 5 million years ago.
Image credits: NASA