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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Sept, 10, 2022 @acenewsservices
#AceNewsDesk – NASA has released two spectacular new images of the Tarantula Nebula taken by the James Webb Telescope, shedding light on a nearby region of the universe that could give astronomers new insight into how stars are formed.
The Tarantula Nebula, officially known as 30 Doradus, is in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, a stone’s throw away from Earth at a mere 161,000 light-years and part of the Local Group of galaxies closest to the Milky Way.
Previous images taken of the nebula have shown it with long clouds of dust and gas appearing to emanate from its centre like a web, resulting in its spidery nickname.
But the new images, produced using the James Webb Telescope’s infrared sensors, provide a more complex and detailed picture of what is happening at the nebula’s centre, where stars are born at a furious pace.
The first image, taken with the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), covers an area 340 light years across, and shows a cluster of massive stars making space for themselves at the nebula’s centre by eroding the surrounding matter with what NASA labelled “blistering radiation”.
Smaller points of light visible in the gas and dust clouds are “protostars”, young stars that are still gaining mass as they emerge from the nebula’s “web” and take their place at its centre.
The protostars have never been photographed before, as the surrounding matter is too dense for visible light to travel through.
A second image released by NASA, taken with the telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), gives the region a whole new look, with the cooler gas and dust glowing blue but the hot stars fading into the background.The area surrounding the Tarantula Nebula’s central star cluster as taken by the James Webb Telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).(Supplied: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team)none
The Tarantula Nebula is of particular interest to astronomers because its chemical composition and behaviour is similar to what would have occurred in regions of the early universe when star formation was at its peak — what is known as the universe’s “cosmic noon”.
The new pictures are the latest in a series of spectacular images produced by the James Webb Telescope, a joint venture led by NASA along with the European and Canadian space agencies.
The six-tonne telescope, the successor to the 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, was launched into orbit in December last year, arriving at a point of equilibrium between the Sun and the Earth in January and producing its first image for public release in July.
Allowing astronomers to see through the massive clouds of dust and gas that visible-light observatories like Hubble are unable to is one of the four main goals of the James Webb project.
The other three goals are to witness the first stars and galaxies forming near the beginning of the early universe, to further our understanding of how galaxies assemble over billions of years, and to tell us more about the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system, perhaps even furthering the search for extraterrestrial life.
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