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Tarantula Nebula (30 Doradus): A New View of the Tarantula Nebula

  • A new composite of 30 Doradus (aka, the Tarantula Nebula) contains data from Chandra (blue), Hubble (green), and Spitzer (red).

  • 30 Doradus is one of the largest star-forming regions located close to the Milky Way.

  • This region contains thousands of young massive stars, making it an excellent place to study how stars are born.

To celebrate its 22nd anniversary in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope has released a dramatic new image of the star-forming region 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs. A new image from all three of NASA's Great Observatories - Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer - has also been created to mark the event.

30 Doradus is located in the neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, and is one of the largest star-forming regions located close to the Milky Way . At the center of 30 Doradus, thousands of massive stars are blowing off material and producing intense radiation along with powerful winds. The Chandra X-ray Observatory detects gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by these stellar winds and also by supernova explosions. These X-rays, colored blue in this composite image, come from shock fronts -- similar to sonic booms -- formed by this high-energy stellar activity.

The Hubble data in the composite image, colored green, reveals the light from these massive stars along with different stages of star birth including embryonic stars a few thousand years old still wrapped in cocoons of dark gas. Infrared emission from Spitzer, seen in red, shows cooler gas and dust that have giant bubbles carved into them. These bubbles are sculpted by the same searing radiation and strong winds that comes from the massive stars at the center of 30 Doradus.

Fast Facts for Tarantula Nebula:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL/PSU/L.Townsley et al.
Release Date  April 17, 2012
Scale  13 arcmin across (about 600 light years across)
Category  Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 05h 38m 42.9s | Dec -69° 06' 3"
Constellation  Dorado
Observation Date  09/21/1999 - 01/30/2006
Observation Time  31 hours 40 min.
Obs. ID  22, 5906, 7263, 7264, 62520
Instrument  ACIS
Also Known As 30 Doradus
Color Code  X-ray (Blue); Infrared (Red); Optical (Green)
Distance Estimate  About 160,000 light years
distance arrow
Visitor Comments (9)

It looks like a mini version of what the big bang may have looked like.

Posted by D. on Wednesday, 06.1.16 @ 13:37pm

It is so beautiful. I often wonder who is looking back at us and wondering ..

Posted by Marie on Thursday, 10.2.14 @ 22:31pm

Thanks to everyone involved in getting these images out to the public. When I first looked at the Tarantula Nebula image I enlarged it on my screen and sat back and thought what an incredible universe it is. I don't know why, but a tear came to my eye as I let my mind try and wrap itself around space and life. Sounds silly, but I just wanted to convey the way this image affected me. Beautiful and once again, thank you!

Cheers to you all,

Posted by Scott on Saturday, 05.11.13 @ 17:45pm

What a wonderful picture.
I have been studying Astor physics since retiring a few years ago and the pics and info I get from NASA are fantastic.

Posted by sultan mahmud on Thursday, 03.7.13 @ 09:43am

Breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL! When the astronomy and astrophysics community work together, beauty is the result. If only the rest of humanity were on board... Thank You all for all the hard work you do.

Posted by Kelly Potter on Thursday, 08.2.12 @ 11:32am

Fantastic! So amazing! I absolutely LOVE astronomy!!! This is so amazing, I can not wait to see more & more, deeper & deeper into space & all that it offers us to learn.

Posted by Shannon on Monday, 05.21.12 @ 12:38pm

What a wonderful picture.
I have been studying Astor physics since retiring a few years ago and the pics and info i get from NASA is fantastic.


Posted by Colin Hague on Saturday, 04.21.12 @ 06:22am

Absolutely gorgeous! And we are part of that!!

Posted by Mitch D. on Friday, 04.20.12 @ 21:35pm

This image is fantastic, and more amazing what it`s happening over there.

Posted by Rafael on Friday, 04.20.12 @ 18:55pm

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