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HH 49/50
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The particle jet lies 480 light-years away in a star-forming region known as Chamaeleon I.
The luminous tornado-shaped structure is about 0.3 light years long.



Scientists also donít know whether the star at the centre of the image is associated with HH 49/50 or not.
If it is, then it could mean that the image actually shows HH objects from two stars colliding with each another. The more likely option, scientists say, is that the centre star is actually located much further away and only looks like itís associated with HH 49/50 because it happened to be in Spitzerís line of sight when the image was taken.

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Herbig-Haro 4 9/50
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A research team headed by University of Colorado astronomer John Bally released an image Thursday morning of a cosmic jet that resembles a huge, multicoloured tornado whirling through space.

The infrared image was captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope, built in Boulder by Ball Aerospace & Technologies. The false-colour picture was released at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.


The Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed an object that looks like a giant tornado in space. It is actually a shock wave created by a jet of high-energy particles gushing through a vast cloud of interstellar gas and dust. Astronomers are puzzled about the source of the spiral appearance.

The "tornado" is actually a shock wave created by a jet of high-energy particles gushing through a vast cloud of interstellar gas and dust. The jet slams into the dust clouds at a speed of more than 100 miles per second, heating the dust to incandescence and causing it to glow with infrared light detectable by Spitzer.
The triangular shape results from the wake created by the jet's motion, similar to the wake behind a speedboat.
The tornado-shaped object, designated Herbig-Haro 4 9/50, is in the Chamaeleon 1 star-forming complex, a region containing more than 100 young stars. Most of the new stars are smaller than the sun.

"I think this is a freak situation that's really cool-looking, and it goes to show you that star formation is a messy business. These stars form in clusters that interact with each other. Mother Nature is much more complicated than mother ever said" - John Bally.

Astronomers can only speculate about the source of the spiral appearance. One possibility is that magnetic fields throughout the region shaped the object.

"When I first saw the image of this tornado-like object, I was amazed. In the thousands of Spitzer images we've looked at, we've never seen anything like this before" - Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

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