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Full-field Hubble Image of the
Tarantula Nebula

The image comprises one of the largest mosaics ever assembled from Hubble photos and includes observations taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. Hubble made the observations in October 2011. NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute are releasing the image to celebrate Hubble's 22nd anniversary.

Tarantula Nebula Multi-Observatory Composite

This image of the Tarantula Nebula combines data from four space-based astronomical observatories: Chandra X-ray Observatory, Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope. The instruments aboard each spacecraft are sensitive to different types of radiation resulting from phenomena that span an enormous range of energies. Chandra observers x-rays, which result from highly energetic events such as very hot gas blown out of supernova explosions. GALEX observes ultraviolet (UV) light, just blue-ward of visible. The hottest stars emit most of their radiation in the UV. Hubble observes mostly visible and near infrared light, emitted by average stars and hot gas clouds. Spitzer observes infrared (IR) light which is much redder than visible light. Cool clouds of gas and dust emit mostly IR light.

Comparison of Star-forming Regions

This diagram shows the relative size of a few star-forming regions, as they would appear at the same distance from us. Ground-based images of prominent star-forming regions in our own Galaxy: the Orion Complex, the Carina Nebula Complex, and the Lagoon Nebula are compared to an image of the Tarantula Nebula in a composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's 2.2m telescope. The Tarantula is one of the largest known regions of active star formation, located in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, some 170,000 light-years away. Similar, large star-forming regions are much closer to us, in our own galaxy, so appear relatively larger in the sky. The Orion Complex is about 1,500 light-years away and includes the prominent Orion Nebula (M42) in a relatively small region, shown here in an image from Hubble. The Carina Nebula extends over a very large region of the sky, lying about 1,500 light-years away. Hubble's detailed view of a small portion of the nebula is shown to scale. The Lagoon Nebula (M8) is relatively more compact and lies at about 4,500 light-years away.

Annotated Map of the Tarantula Nebula

This annotated map identifies several prominent features in an image of the Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus), a prominent region of star formation located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) the nearest neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way. The image was produced from numerous exposures by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Bright stars are labeled in yellow. Some of these are identified in the Henry Draper Catalog (HD), others appear in the catalog of objects identified by the 2-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS).


Southern Hemisphere Constellations

Stars and constellations as well as the location of the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud and the Tarantula Nebula are labeled on this actual image of the night sky taken by Akira Fujii.

The Large Magellanic Cloud

One of our nearest neighboring galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is an irregular barred spiral visible in our Southern Hemisphere full of active starforming regions, the largest of which is the Tarantula Nebula, or 30 Doradus. This image was taken by the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Copyright David Malin