Tech: Hubble reveals cosmic Bat Shadow in the Serpent's Tail

Hubble reveals cosmic Bat Shadow in the Serpent's Tail

The shadow is about 200 times the length of our solar system, and was nicknamed the "Bat Shadow" by scientists. The shadow feature is rather striking, but it's just the angle that makes it look unusual; these shadows are actually very common around young stars. The planetary system we live in once emerged from a similar protoplanetary disc when the Sun was only a few million years old.

Stand aside, Batman - your bat signal has nothing on a huge "bat shadow" the Hubble Space Telescope spotted in a distant gas cloud. The star's debris ring is too small and distant to be seen by Hubble, but the disk casts monster shadows onto the nebula.

"Whilst most of the shadow is completely opaque, we can look for color differences along its edges, where some light gets through", the astronomers noted.

"Using the shape and color of the shadow, we can determine the size and composition of dust grains in the disk".

These colossal shadows on the Serpens Nebula are cast by the protoplanetary disc surrounding HBC 672.

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"However, in an unlikely coincidence, a similar looking shadow phenomenon can be seen emanating from another young star, in the upper left of the image". "The nebula envelops hundreds of young stars, many of which could also be in the process of forming planets in a protoplanetary disk", ESA added.

About 550 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia lies IC 63, a stunning and slightly eerie nebula. The images, one taken in visible and the other in infrared light, celebrate Hubble's ...

At a distance of 1,300-light-years, the Serpens Neblua is further away from Earth than Gotham is from Metropolis, but the shadow that stretches from the star known as HBC 672 has two deep, dark (but not brooding) streaks emerging from it, lighting up the surrounding nebula.

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