Close-up views of stellar jet HH 34
These images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show how a bright, clumpy jet, ejected from a young star, has changed over time. The jet, called Herbig-Haro 34 (or HH 34), is a signpost of star birth. Several bright regions in the clumps signify where material is slamming into other patches of material, heating up, and glowing. The images show that a couple of bright areas on the right faded over time, as heated material cooled. Two regions at left, however, brightened over the 14-year span of observations, pinpointing fresh collision sites. Ejected episodically by a young star like cannon salvos, the blobby material in HH 34 zips along at more than 700 000 kilometres per hour. The speedy jet is confined to narrow beams by the powerful stellar magnetic field.
These images are part of a series of time-lapse movies astronomers have made showing the motion of several Herbig-Haro jets over time. The movies were stitched together from images taken over a 14-year period by Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Hubble followed the HH 34 jets over three epochs, 1994, 1998, and 2007.
HH 34 is roughly 1350 light-years from Earth, near the Orion Nebula.