Hubble Captures Mysterious Astronomical Explosion 9,000 Light-Years From Earth

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NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of a young, brilliant star shrouded in a cloud of gas and dust. Using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, researchers were able to examine a newborn stellar object nearly 9,000 light-years away in the constellation Taurus to learn more about the birth of massive stars.

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Astronomers believe this item, designated IRAS 05506+2414, is evidence of an explosive event caused by the collision of two young, massive stars. If that’s the case, we’d only have seen one other instance like this before.

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Usually, the double outflow of gas and dust from a young star is directed from the disks of material that orbit the star. However, in IRAS 05506+2414, a fan-shaped shower of material extends outwards from the center of the image at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per second.

To determine how far away IRAS 05506+2414 is, astronomers used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The acceleration of material moving away from the star can be measured, but the distance from the star to Earth cannot.

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However, the distance to IRAS 05506+2414 can be derived by tracking the movement of the outflow from one photo to another. This gives astronomers a better idea of ​​the star’s brightness and energy output, and therefore allows them to get a better estimate of the star’s mass, which is crucial to unraveling the mystery of the source of the peculiar outflow of this brilliant young star.

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