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Astronomers Notice Supernova Resembling Double-edged Lightsaber


Just in time for opening weekend of "Star Wars: the Force Awakens," astronomers have spotted a supernova they dubbed a "cosmic lightsaber."

According to Discovery News, astronomers spotted the supernova with the Hubble Telescope and a naturally occurring gravitational lens allowing them to see farther out. The supernova, called "Refsdal," is an example of an "Einstein Cross," when four images of a supernova appear around a galaxy.

But European Space Agency researchers noted how the supernova resembles a double-edged lightsaber like the one Darth Maul wielded in the Star Wars prequel "Phantom Menace." Astronomers first spotted the supernova in Nov. 2014.

"When stars form within giant, gaseous clouds, some of the surrounding material collapses down to form a rotating, flattened disc encircling the nascent stars, which are known as protostars. This disc is where a potential planetary system might form," the ESA said in a statement. "However, at this early stage, the star is mostly concerned with feeding its Jabba-like appetite. Gas from the disc rains down onto the protostar and, once nourished, the star awakens and jets of energized gas from its poles whirl out in opposite directions.

"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."

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