Faint Webs of the Tarantula Nebula

NASA/ESA Hub­ble

The faint body of a spi­der hides in a web of dark dust in this image of the Taran­tula Neb­ula from NASA’s Hub­ble Space Telescope.

Explore the out­skirts of this mas­sive neb­ula in the Large Mag­el­lanic Cloud. What sto­ries or images do you see? Leave a note in the com­ments below.

Located about 170,000 light-years from Earth, the Taran­tula Neb­ula is the largest and bright­est known neb­ula in the Local Group of galax­ies; a group of nearby galax­ies that includes the Large and Small Mag­el­lanic Clouds and the Androm­eda Galaxy. The neb­ula is a vast star-making fac­tory. It takes light more than 650 years to cross this nebula.

The wispy struc­tures in this neb­ula glow in this image because new stars give off strong ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion which causes the atoms in the cloud to become excited and glow. Hydro­gen gas usu­ally glows red but sci­en­tists tweak the fil­ters used on the Hub­ble tele­scope to bring out dif­fer­ent details in dif­fer­ent col­ors of light. In this image, hydro­gen glows green. Even­tu­ally, as the gas is blown away from the new stars, clus­ters of stars, like the Pleiades, will be revealed.

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