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 birthed 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 theits 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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