A stunning photograph of the 30 Doradus nebula was acquired by the James Webb Space Telescope last year. In order to generate a composite image of the nebula, which is more popularly known as the Tarantula Nebula due to its hazy filaments, researchers have now merged data from the Webb telescope with the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Astronauts interested in studying star formation have often focused on the Tarantula Nebula, a stellar nursery. It is the largest and brightest region of star formation in the local group of galaxies, including the Milky Way. The Tarantula Nebula is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a small galaxy that is a neighbour to ours.
The new image combines infrared data from the Webb telescope in 2022 with X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory. The image’s X-rays, which are depicted in royal blue and purple, show gas that has been cooked to millions of degrees by shockwaves produced by powerful stars. It’s interesting to note that Chandra data also aids in locating supernova remnants, which release vital elements like oxygen and carbon into space where they become a component of a new generation of stars.
When our universe was only a few billion years old, a time known as the “cosmic noon,” star formation was at its height. The chemical makeup of the Tarantula Nebula is strikingly comparable to that of the star-forming areas at this time. This is a significant factor in the interest that scientists have in this specific star nursery.