NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has photographed what appears to be a gigantic double-bladed lightsaber inside the Orion B molecular cloud complex, located at 1350 light-years from Earth.
And no, it’s not because Darth Maul is silently planning for our extinction.
The flashy astronomical phenomenon is part of the collapse of a nebula and subsequent birth of a star. A fiery circle of dust and gas left over from the gargantuan explosion surrounds the nascent stellar body, and some of that gas has heat up to temperatures that see them escape along the star’s axis, creating the illusion of the famous blades featured in Star Wars.
Intertwined by magnetic fields, the columns of gas blast into space at over 100,000 miles per hour.
These stellar bodies are known as Herbig-Haro objects, and this one in particular is HH 24.
Curiously, the celestial, elegant weapon of a more civilised age was not spotted in some far quadrant in the outer rim, but inside our own Milky Way, where only a handful of HH objects have been spotted.
“Science fiction has been an inspiration to generations of scientists and engineers, and the film series Star Wars is no exception,” said John Grunsfeld, an astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission directorate.