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Pictures of young star show unusual outbursts

Ejections from stellar newborn move faster, differently than astronomers thought

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1:05pm, August 20, 2013

STELLAR NEWBORN  A young star bursts to life, ejecting material that slams into surrounding gas, causing the region of space to glow. New images (one shown) of this young star suggest that its ejections move much faster and have more energy than previously thought.

New images of a young star suggest that its ejections move much faster and have more energy than previously thought.

As a young star bursts to life, it throws off material at speeds up to 1 million kilometers per hour. When the material collides with the surrounding cloud of gas and dust, the space region glows, creating what’s called a Herbig-Haro object.

Images of the glowing cloud Herbig-Haro 46/47 (pictured), which sits about 1,400 light-years away in the southern constellation Vela, revealed something unusual. Ejections moving toward Earth (pink and purple, upper left) slam directly into the surrounding cloud, while material flowing away (orange and green, lower right) escapes it. The star has an unexpected outflow that is also boring a hole through the surrounding cloud and could be coming from a lower-mass neighbor.

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