NASA news: Hubble snaps incredible ‘flapping bat’ across the Universe

Hubble has sent back a mesmerising image of a star formation known as HBC 672. The infant star is accompanied by a cloud of gas and dust, which is helping feed the stellar entity. However, what is most shocking is the shadow hovering over the cloud, which looks a bit like a larger, interstellar bat.

On top of that, NASA said the wings appear to be “flapping”, which is caused by the gravitational to and fro of the star, which is 1,400 light-years away.

NASA said of the image: “Astronomers using a previously captured Hubble imagery spotted a remarkable image of a young star’s unseen, planet-forming disk casting a huge shadow across a more distant cloud in a star-forming region.

“The star is called HBC 672, and the shadow feature was nicknamed the ‘Bat Shadow’ because it resembles a pair of wings.

“The nickname turned out to be unexpectedly appropriate because now those ‘wings’ appear to be flapping!”

The 30-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is reaching the end of its life cycle and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) set to take its place next year.

The JWST is so powerful it will reach back to the furthest realms and the earliest moments of the universe.

JWST, which is named after NASA’s second administrator James Webb who served from 1961 to 1968 and played a major part in the Apollo missions, has the capability of scanning thousands of planets for alien life – even though those planets are thousands of light-years away.

One of the major differences between Hubble and JWST will be how far back in time it will be able to see.

Hubble can see far into space and is essentially looking back in time as light travels to the craft.

Through Hubble, experts have been able to view the formation of the first galaxies, about one billion years after the Big Bang.

However, as JWST is much more powerful, it will be able to see just 0.3 billion years after the Big Bang to when visible light itself was beginning to form.

JWST will also be situated much farther out in space than Hubble.

Hubble is placed in Earth’s orbit just 354,181 miles (570,000 kilometres) from the surface, but JWST will be placed an astonishing 932,056 miles (1.5 million kilometres) from Earth, meaning if it breaks down while it is up there, it will not be able to be fixed.

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