This fiery star birth announcement resembles a scorpion in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
These short-lived and small events are just at the edge of Hubble’s vision so there’s not much to zoom on. There’s plenty of action going on in this small space. Jets of material are blasting away from the newborn star at high-speed. They last only about 100,000 years. Astronomers call them Herbig-Haro (HH) objects in honor of George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, who studied them in the 1950s.
Stars form from collapsing clouds of hydrogen gas. Gravity pulls the material together into a spinning mass. When enough gathers in one place, a star may form as hydrogen atoms begin to fuse giving off light and heat. Planets may arise from the leftover material in the disk surrounding the newborn star. Material in the disk may also spiral toward the star only to be spewed out along the narrow beams of the star’s powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have been watching these jets over the past 14 years and have created movies as the jets flow outward like water.
HH2 and other Herbig-Haro objects are found about 1,350 light-years from Earth in the Orion Nebula.