Astronomers image the star-birthing web of a cosmic Tarantula Nebula

A composite image of the star-forming region 30 Doradus — also known as the Tarantula Nebula — reveals areas of cool gas that can collapse to form stars. (Image credit: ESO, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Wong et al., ESO/M.-R. Cioni/VISTA Magellanic Cloud survey.)

A newly released image of 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, reveals thin spider-web-like strands of gas revealing a dramatic battle between gravity and stellar energy that could give astronomers an idea of ​​how massive stars have shaped this star-forming region and why they continue to be born within this molecular cloud.

The high-resolution image of the Tarantula Nebula, located 170,000 light-years from Earth is made up of data collected by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, the Tarantula Nebula is one of the most luminous star-forming regions in our galactic backyard. It is also one of the most active in terms of birthing new stars, some of which have masses more than 150 times that of the sun. At its heart of the Large Magellanic Cloud lies a stellar nursery that has given rise to 800,000 stars, — half a million of which are hot, young, and massive stars.

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