A New View of the Tarantula Nebula
Sig12 004

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL/PSU/L.Townsley et al.

Observation • April 17th, 2012 • sig12-004


This composite of 30 Doradus, aka the Tarantula Nebula, contains data from Chandra (blue), Hubble (green), and Spitzer (red). Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Tarantula Nebula is one of the largest star-forming regions close to the Milky Way. Chandra's X-rays detect gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by stellar winds and supernovas. This high-energy stellar activity creates shock fronts, which are similar to sonic booms. Hubble reveals the light from massive stars at various stages of star birth, while Spitzer shows where the relatively cooler gas and dust lie.

About the Object

Tarantula Nebula
Star > Grouping > Cluster
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Young Stellar Object
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
160,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
X-ray 1.5 keV Chandra ACIS
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 5.8 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC
Optical 775 nm Hubble ACS
Optical 775 nm Hubble WFC3


Position ()
RA =5h 38m 42.3s
Dec = -69° 6' 2.8"
Field of View
13.2 x 10.6 arcminutes
North is 28.5° left of vertical