13:53 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Scientists Notice Mysterious Lasers Coming From Space

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    A rare phenomenon has been spotted at the heart of a strange double star system called the Ant Nebula.

    Scientists from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel space observatory have spotted two strange lasers emanating from the star system.

    The extremely rare phenomenon is connected to the death of a star and for the first time scientists have found that stars emit powerful lasers before dying.

    The Ant Nebula earns its nickname from the twin lobes that look like the head and body of an ant. 

    The distance of the star system is between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norm.

    “We detected a very rare type of emission called hydrogen recombination laser emission, which is only produced in a narrow range of physical conditions,” Dr. Isabel Aleman, lead author of a paper said, according to the publication The Independent.

    Goran Pilbratt, an ESA Herschel project scientist, added, “It is a nice conclusion that it took the Herschel mission to connect together Menzel's two discoveries from almost a century ago.”

    The wide wavelength range of the Herschel observatory has provided a way to reveal the nebula’s structure and physical conditions.

    “Such emission has only been identified in a handful of objects before; this was a remarkable discovery that we did not anticipate. There is certainly more to stellar nebulae than meets the eye!” Toshiya Ueta, principal investigator of the Herschel Planetary Nebula Survey project said.

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    Tags:
    star systems, laser beam, scientists, technology, Herschel Space Observatory, European Space Agency
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