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European Southern Observatory Releases Sharpest Image Of The 160,000 Light-Years Away Tarantula Nebula

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Astronomers were able to capture the most detailed image of the Tarantula Nebula ever taken. The Tarantula Nebula is the brightest and most energetic star-forming region in the galaxy group that includes the Milky Way galaxy called the Local Group.

The Tarantula Nebula is located 160,000 light-years away from Earth.

Most Detailed Image Of The Tarantula Nebula

The sharpest image ever of the Tarantula Nebula was captured by the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile. Researchers used the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). The Tarantula Nebula is also known as 30 Doradus.

The Tarantula Nebula is a region that is more than 1,000 light-years in size. It is found in the Dorado constellation in the far southern sky. It is found in the Large Magellanic Cloud which is a dwarf galaxy that is 14,000 light-years in size. This is one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way galaxy.

The Tarantula Nebula was first discovered by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille from France in 1751. Its name comes from the arrangement of the stars found inside that resemble a spider's legs. This gas that could be mistaken for spider webs in the photograph is actually slowly turning into stars in this region of the universe.

Astronomers had to use four different filters to capture the image. One of the filters was designed to capture the red glow of ionized hydrogen that is being emitted by the nebula. To capture the entire image, they used VST's 256-megapixel camera called OmegaCAM.

What's In The Image

In the image which captured the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Tarantula Nebula is the brightest region in the picture. Inside the Tarantula Nebula, it contains a young, giant star cluster called NGC 2070. That region contains some of the biggest and most luminous stars that are known to exist in the universe. Gas in the Tarantula Nebula is spread by the star cluster Hodge 301. It contains 40 stars that have exploded into supernovas.

On the lefthand side of the Tarantula Nebula is the star cluster NGC 2100. This cluster features a large concentration of blue stars surrounded by red stars. A more difficult structure to spot in the image is the Seahorse of the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is a gigantic structure that is around 20 light-years in size.

The European Southern Observatory also released an image that is labeled with all of the previously mentioned regions and structures. Instead of relying on just reading about the structures they can be seen clearly. 

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