Hubble Spots Glowing Plumes in Tarantula Nebula

by johnsmith

NASA has released a beautiful photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula, which is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud — a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way approximately 163,000 light-years away.

This Hubble image shows the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Josh Barrington.

This Hubble image shows the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Josh Barrington.

The Tarantula Nebula is located in the southern constellation of Dorado, about 163,000 light-years away in one of our closest galactic neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The bright glow of this stunning nebula was first recorded by French astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in 1751.

At the heart of the Tarantula Nebula, which is also known as NGC 2070 or 30 Doradus, are some of the most massive stars known, a few with more than 150 times the mass of our Sun, making the region perfect for studying how gas clouds collapse under gravity to form new stars.

“Hubble has peeked many times into the Large Magellanic Cloud, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars,” the Hubble astronomers said.

“In most images of this dwarf galaxy the color is completely different to that seen here.”

“For this image, we substituted the customary R filter, which selects the red light, and replaced it by a filter letting through the near-infrared light.”

“In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red,” they explained.

“Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.”

“These Hubble data are part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1,000 images taken using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments,” the researchers said.

“Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars.”

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