Photo released by Hubble shows the "IRAS 14568-6304" young star and offers insight on how stars are born.
While most of us won't be able to go into space in our lifetime to gander just how beautiful and vast the universe is, we're fortunate enough to have technology that allows us to at least bear witness to some of it. The Hubble Space Telescope has released a photo of the birth of a star and it's both awe-inspiring as it is scary, as it gives you us an idea on just how insignificant we all are when it comes to these things.
This new Hubble image shows IRAS 14568-6304, a young star that is cloaked in a haze of golden gas and dust. It appears to be embedded within an intriguing swoosh of dark sky, which curves through the image and obscures the sky behind.
IRAS 14568-6304 is special because it is driving a protostellar jet, which appears here as the "tail" below the star. This jet is the leftover gas and dust that the star took from its parent cloud in order to form. While most of this material forms the star and its accretion disc - the disc of material surrounding the star, which may one day form planets - at some point in the formation process the star began to eject some of the material at supersonic speeds through space. This phenomenon is not only beautiful, but can also provide us with valuable clues about the process of star formation.
Yes, that image you see above is not a painting, nor is a screenshot from an upcoming sci-fi film and is the real deal. It's shockingly beautiful -- especially if you consider how violent the process seems to actually be.
For the latest science news from The Escapist, make sure to read up on how an ancient ocean might have existed on Pluto's Charon moon. Or if you're a Star Trek fan, you need to see this NASA concept for a real-life Enterprise that the team is building.