No, this isn't an image of Darth Maul with his double-bladed lightsaber making a comeback in "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens", this is a stunning new observation by the Hubble Space Telescope of an extremely energetic young star blasting jets of plasma though clouds of gas and dust in the nebula where it was born.
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Located some 1,350 light-years away, this star forms part of HH 24, a Herbig-Haro (HH) object, deep inside a highly active star forming region called the Orion B molecular cloud complex. At the center of HH 24 is a young star and, behind the obscuring clouds, it's known to have a whirling disk of hot material - a protoplanetary disk - surrounding it.
This material, which originates from the stellar cloud that formed the star, has the potential to form a system of planets. But before this happens, the star is consuming the disk's material, spewing it back out from its poles, generating the powerful lightsaber-like jets filled with speeding superheated plasma.
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The protostar's "Star Wars" connection (the movie goes on general release in theaters today) has not been lost on the European Space Agency, which issued a news release, saying: "The Force is strong with these twin jets; their effect on their environment demonstrates the true power of the Dark Side with a blast stronger than one from a fully armed and operational Death Star battle station. As they stream away from one another at high speeds, supersonic shock fronts develop along the jets and heat the surrounding gas to thousands of degrees."