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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/.

NPR

'The Terror Years' Traces The Rise Of Al-Qaida And ISIS

Lawrence Wright's new book collects his essays for The New Yorker on the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the recent beheadings of journalists and aid workers.
NPR

Berkeley's Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks

According to a new study, the nation's first soda tax succeeded in cutting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. But there's uncertainty about whether the effect will be permanent.
WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

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