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Hubble salutes ‘Star Wars’ with lightsaber

An image from the Hubble Space Telescope focuses on jets of hot gas blazing forth from a protostar in the middle of a dusty cloud known as Herbig-Haro 24. (Credit: NASA / ESA)
An image from the Hubble Space Telescope focuses on jets of hot gas blazing forth from a protostar in the middle of a dusty cloud known as Herbig-Haro 24. (Credit: NASA / ESA)

Leave it to the scientists behind the Hubble Space Telescope to capitalize on the craziness over “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Their latest cosmic snapshot shows what looks like a double-bladed lightsaber worthy of Darth Maul.

The lightsaber is actually a pair of jets of superheated gas, emanating a newborn star that’s hidden in a cloak of dust as thick as a Jedi Knight’s cloak. This scene isn’t set in a galaxy far, far away. Instead, it’s 1,350 light-years away in our own galaxy, in a celestial cradle called the Orion B molecular cloud complex.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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