About the Object

Name: 30 Doradus, RMC 136, Tarantula Nebula
Constellation: Dorado
Category: Nebulae


Position (RA):5 38 47.61
Position (Dec):-69° 5' 42.96"
Field of view:7.28 x 4.21 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 13.5° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Optical 900 nmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 2.0 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
molecular hydrogen
4.7 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared 4.44 μmJames Webb Space Telescope

Tarantula Nebula (NIRCam Image)

In this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) displays the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in a new light, including tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously shrouded in cosmic dust. The most active region appears to sparkle with massive young stars, appearing pale blue. Scattered among them are still-embedded stars, appearing red, yet to emerge from the dusty cocoon of the nebula. NIRCam is able to detect these dust-enshrouded stars thanks to its unprecedented resolution at near-infrared wavelengths.

To the upper left of the cluster of young stars, and the top of the nebula’s cavity, an older star prominently displays NIRCam’s distinctive eight diffraction spikes, an artefact of the telescope’s structure. Following the top central spike of this star upward, it almost points to a distinctive bubble in the cloud. Young stars still surrounded by dusty material are blowing this bubble, beginning to carve out their own cavity. Astronomers used two of Webb’s spectrographs to take a closer look at this region and determine the chemical makeup of the star and its surrounding gas. This spectral information will tell astronomers about the age of the nebula and how many generations of star birth it has seen.

Farther from the core region of hot young stars, cooler gas takes on a rust colour, telling astronomers that the nebula is rich with complex hydrocarbons. This dense gas is the material that will form future stars. As winds from the massive stars sweep away gas and dust, some of it will pile up and, with gravity’s help, form new stars.



About the Image

Id: weic2212a
Type: Observation
Release date: 6 September 2022, 16:00
Related releases: weic2212
Size: 14557 x 8418 px

Image Formats

Download IconLarge JPEG 21.2 MB
Download IconScreensize JPEG 252.9 KB



Download Icon1024x768 348.7 KB
Download Icon1280x1024 542.7 KB
Download Icon1600x1200 754.8 KB
Download Icon1920x1200 875.9 KB
Download Icon2048x1536 1.1 MB

Also see our