NASA’s James Webb telescope captures space tarantula
Big Picture: NASA has shared new images from the James Webb Space Telescope, this time showing a stellar nursery spanning 340 light-years across. The 30 Doradus Nebula, better known as the Tarantula Nebula, is located 161,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. It was first noticed by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in the 1750s during an expedition to the Cape of Good Hope.
It is the largest and brightest star forming region in the Local Group, a collection of “close” galaxies that also includes the Milky Way.
Astronomers have pointed three cutting-edge Webb instruments at the Tarantula Nebula. The Webb Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) reveals tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously obscured by cosmic dust. The massive young stars at the center of the nebula have carved out a hollow region with their searing radiation. Scattered red stars are those that have not yet emerged from their dusty cocoon.
The image also features Webb. pattern of diffraction burststelescope structure artifact.
Switching to the Webb Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) provides a different look with longer wavelengths. Here, the cooler gas and dust really shine, and the hydrocarbons light up the clouds in purple and blue. Mid-infrared light, with its longer wavelengths, is able to penetrate dust clouds, revealing previously unseen environments.
The Tarantula Nebula is a particularly interesting target for astronomers because its chemical composition is similar to star-forming regions seen in the universe.space noon”, the period of peak star formation, when the universe was only a few billion years old. Here in the Milky Way, star formation is not as intense and the chemistry is different, so we’ll turn to the Tarantula as a close example.
NASA published full resolution Examples tarantula nebulae on their website for print or display. At 140MB and over 14,500 pixels wide, it’s enough to keep astronomy enthusiasts and casual observers entertained for hours.