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Hubble Captures Time-Lapse Videos Of Stars Being Born

The birth of star is just as traumatic as the birth of a person, only on a much larger scale.

For years, astronomers have known that newly formed stars fire powerful beams of gas into space called "protostellar jets." Because almost every young star forms these jets, astronomers have been desperate to get a better understanding of their evolution and their role in the star formation process. Until recently, however, astronomers had to be content with simple snapshots of the infant stars and their jets — not a great help when it comes to understanding how something moves.

Now, using pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope across more than a decade, my colleagues and I have been able to create movies of the jets.

Pat Hartigan of Rice University and I (along with other collaborators) produced movies that provide a new perspective on protostellar jets as they blast away from their newly formed stars. We can see the jets fragmenting and turning into clumps as they power through the surrounding interstellar material. We can also watch as they bore cavities through the interstellar gas. This kind of movie gives us insights into the formation of a star (such as how the jet might clear away falling gas) that was never possible before.

Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester and a blogger for NPR's 13.7.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Remains In Jamestown Linked To Early Colonial Leaders

Scientists from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation say they've identified four men buried in the earliest English church in America.
WAMU 88.5

The Democracy Of The Diner

Whether the decor is faux '50s silver and neon or authentic greasy spoon, diners are classic Americana, down to the familiar menu items. Rich, poor, black, white--all rub shoulders in the vinyl booths and at formica counters. We explore the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the diner.

WAMU 88.5

D.C. Council Member David Grosso

D.C. Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Education David Grosso joins us to discuss local public policy issues, including the challenges facing D.C. Public Schools.

NPR

Researchers Warn Against 'Autonomous Weapons' Arms Race

Already, researcher Stuart Russell says, sentry robots in South Korea "can spot and track a human being for a distance of 2 miles — and can very accurately kill that person."

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