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August 21 2013

The birth of a star, captured in stunning detail


Astronomers have captured stunning images of a star in the process of being born, and they are as beautiful as they are counterintuitive.

In the images above, you are not seeing the young star itself, but rather massive jets of gases such as carbon monoxide and ionized oxygen that are shooting away from the forming star at speeds of up to 1 million kilometers per hour (about 621,000 mph).

When these gas jets crash into the material surrounding the protostar, they begin to glow, creating what is known as the Herbig-Haro effect.

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