"James Webb" showed the nebula "Tarantula" – the forge of the hottest stars

The James Webb Space Observatory has captured an amazing image of the distant Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070). This is the clearest and most detailed image of this object.

The nebula, located just 161,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, is the largest and brightest star-forming region in the Local Group of galaxies closest to our own Milky Way. It is home to the hottest and most massive known stars.

Webb’s spectacular images of the Tarantula Nebula give us a startling new look at the largest stellar nursery in the local universe, showing stars in their earliest stages of formation in the dense knots of gas and dust around the central cluster.

Chris Evans

JWST Project Fellow for ESA

One of the reasons this nebula is of interest to astronomers is that it has the same type of chemical composition as the giant star-forming regions seen in the universe at “cosmic noon” when the cosmos was only a few billion years old. The star-forming regions in our Milky Way galaxy do not produce stars at the breakneck pace of the Tarantula and have a different chemical composition.

Despite thousands of years of human observation of stars, the process of their formation still holds many mysteries – many of them due to our previous inability to get clear images of what happened behind the thick clouds of nebulae. Webb has already begun to reveal a never-before-seen universe and is just beginning to rewrite the history of the creation of stars.

You can download the full size image of the Tarantula from the telescope website .

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