This week’s image is of Herbig-Haro 110 – HH110
Herbig-Haro objects are jets of hot gas and dust produced during the formation of new stars. The developing star sucks material from the surrounding area onto its surface under gravity gaining mass and heating up in the process. The stars tend to attract material at a faster rate than they can absorb, this excess is thrown off as bi-polar jets and blasts deep into space.
Some HH objects can reach several light years in length, though HH110 is ‘just’ half a light year in length (2.94 trillion miles). The fine detail of the object is produced when its material collides with the interstellar medium (ISM) producing distortions within the jet visible as the twisted threads of material in the image.
HH110 is somewhat unusual as it appears alone in space without its expected partner (in most cases each star produces two HH object each travelling in the opposite direction), this along with other observations leads astronomers to conclude that HH110 is actually part of another object – HH270 after a particularly dense clump of gas has deflected it from its original course.
The image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and you can read more about it here.
HH110 also happens to be within the SDSS’ footprint though the SDSS image doesn’t quite stack up to Hubble’s:
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