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Tarantula Nebula Image

Hubble Captures Spectacular Tarantula Nebula Image!

This picture taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus. This is a massive region of ionized hydrogen gas that is forming stars. And is located 161,000 light-years away from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The region’s bright, new stars surround by turbulent clouds of gas and dust.

What is the Tarantula Nebula made of?

The Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus or NGC 2070, is a large H II region (a region of ionized hydrogen) in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. It is one of the most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies. The nebula is located in the southern hemisphere and is named for its spider-like appearance.

The Tarantula Nebula is primarily composed of hydrogen gas, which is ionized by the intense ultraviolet radiation emitted by hot, young stars within the nebula. These massive, young stars are responsible for illuminating and energizing the surrounding gas, causing it to emit light in various colors. The nebula also contains other elements and molecules, such as helium, oxygen, sulfur, and dust.

In addition to being a site of active star formation, the Tarantula Nebula is home to a number of massive stars, including the extremely luminous and massive star, R136a1. The intense radiation and stellar winds from these massive stars play a crucial role in shaping the nebula’s structure and influencing the surrounding interstellar environment.

Is Tarantula Nebula visible from Earth?

The Tarantula Nebula is visible from Earth, but it is located in the southern hemisphere’s skies. Specifically, it is situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The Tarantula Nebula is one of the largest and most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies.

To observe the Tarantula Nebula, you need to be in a location with a clear view of the southern sky, and it is best visible from latitudes below about 30 degrees north. If you are in the southern hemisphere or at a sufficiently low northern latitude, you may be able to see it with the naked eye or through a telescope, especially if you are in an area with low light pollution.

The Tarantula Nebula Up Close:

Spanning over 600 light-years in diameter, the Tarantula Nebula is a cosmic wonder that has long fascinated astronomers and stargazers alike. Its name is derived from the spidery appearance of its sprawling arms of dust and gas, reminiscent of a giant celestial arachnid.
The Hubble telescope’s high-resolution image allows us to delve into the heart of the Tarantula Nebula, revealing a myriad of celestial phenomena. Bright, massive stars illuminate the nebula from within, their intense radiation sculpting the surrounding gas clouds into intricate shapes and structures. Clusters of young stars, born from the dense interstellar gas, add a vibrant and dynamic element to the cosmic tableau.

Nebulous Beauty:

One of the most captivating aspects of the Tarantula Nebula is the presence of vast nebulous regions, where gas and dust come together in a cosmic dance. These nebulae serve as stellar nurseries, giving birth to new generations of stars. The Hubble image showcases the intricate details of these nebulous formations, highlighting the interplay of light and shadow within the cosmic clouds.

Hubble Captures

Hubble is familiar with the Tarantula Nebula. The star-forming region is the brightest in our galaxy. It is home to the most vibrant and massive stars known. It is an ideal laboratory for testing theories of star formation and evolution. Hubble has a wealth of images from this region. Recently, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope explored this region and discovered thousands of young stars that had never before been seen.


Two different observing proposals combined to create this new image. The first proposal aimed to examine the characteristics of dust particles in the thick clouds of darkness in this image of the Tarantula Nebula and in the space between stars. This hypothesis, dubbed Scylla by astronomers, explains how interstellar dust interacts with starlight in a variety of settings. It works in tandem with Ulysses, another Hubble program that characterizes stars. This image also contains data from an observing program that is studying star formation in early universe conditions and cataloging the stars of the Tarantula Nebula for future research with Webb.


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