Jets from Young Star
Tip to tip, this jet spans slightly more than a light-year. The fountainhead of this structure -- the young star -- lies midway between the jet, and is hidden from view behind a dark cloud of dust. The nearly symmetrical blobs of gas at either end are where the jet has slammed into interstellar gas.
Bottom Left Image
A close-up of a region near the star reveals a string of glowing clumps of gas, ejected by the star in machine-gun like burst fashion. This provides new clues to the dynamics of the star formation process. The jets are ejected from a whirlpool of gas and dust orbiting the young star.
Bottom Right Image
This arrowhead structure is a classic bowshock pattern produced when high-speed material encounters a slower-speed medium. Young stellar jets were discovered 20 years ago, in part due to visible-light observations of bright patches of nebulosity (called Herbig-Haro objects), which appear to be moving away from associated protostars.