Into the Spider-Verse: A giant space tarantula was caught by NASA’s Webb telescope

In this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across, Webb's Near-Infrared Camera displays the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in a new light.
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In this 340-light-year-long mosaic, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera shows the star-forming region of the Tarantula Nebula in new light. (NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Webb ERO Production Group)

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PASADENA, Calif. — A giant space tarantula was captured by the Webb — NASA’s highly sensitive James Webb Space Telescope, that is.

Located 161,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, the Tarantula Nebula is the nickname for 30 Doradus, “the largest and brightest star-forming region in the Local Group, the closest galaxies to our Milky Way.” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Like the mother line of a tarantula with a hole in its silk, it’s home to the hottest and most massive stars known to astronomers, according to NASA.

The Webb telescope’s Near Infrared Camera, also called NIRCam, helped researchers see the region in a new light, “including tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars shrouded in cosmic dust,” according to NASA.

The densest surrounding regions of the nebula resist erosion by the strong winds of the stars, forming pillars that seem to point towards the cluster and hold the forming proto-stars.

These proto-stars emerge from their “dusty cocoons” and help form the nebula. The Webb Telescope’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph caught a very young star doing just that, changing astronomers’ previous beliefs about the star.

According to NASA, “Astronomers previously thought that this star might be a little older and already in the process of clearing the bubble around it.” “However, NIRSpec showed that the star is just beginning to emerge from its column and still has an insulating dust cloud around it.

“Without Webb’s high-resolution spectra at infrared wavelengths, this episode of star formation would not have been detected in action.”

Using another Webb instrument, which detects longer infrared wavelengths and therefore penetrates dust grains in the nebula, it revealed an “unprecedented cosmic environment,” NASA said — hot stars extinguished while cold gas and dust glowed.

The Tarantula Nebula has long been a focus of star formation astronomers because it resembles the chemical composition of giant star-forming regions of the universe during the cosmic noon—when the universe is only a few billion years old and when star formation is at its peak, according to NASA. .

Because the star-forming regions in our galaxy do not produce stars at the same rate as the Tarantula Nebula and have a different chemical composition, the Tarantula is the closest example of what happens in the universe when it reaches noon.

Capturing star formation in the Tarantula Nebula is the latest discovery by NASA’s Webb Telescope.

NASA released a few days ago amazing new pictures It was made by the Webb telescope and the Hubble Telescope, showing the Phantom Galaxy, a spiral of solar systems 32 million light-years from Earth. According to the European Space Agency, which collaborates with NASA on Hubble and Webb, the galaxy is located in the constellation of Pisces.

Webb launched on Christmas Day last year After decades of work to build the world’s largest and most sophisticated space telescope.

NASA launched Webb first the first high quality images a few weeks ago in July.

Larger than Hubble, the telescope is capable of observing extremely distant galaxies, allowing scientists to learn about the early formation of stars. Hubble orbits the Earth, but Webb orbits the sunAbout 1 million miles from Earth.

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