Tarantula Nebula Spitzer 2-Color Image
Ssc2020 06a

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Observation • January 27th, 2020 • ssc2020-06a


This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Tarantula Nebula in two wavelengths of infrared light, each represented by a different color. The red color at the heart of the nebula shows the presence of particularly hot gas emitting infrared light at a wavelength of 4.5 micrometers. The blue regions are dust composed of molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are also found in ash from coal, wood and oil fires on Earth. Regions emitting both wavelengths appear white.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

About the Object

Tarantula NebulaSN 1987aR136
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Nebula > Type > Supernova Remnant
Star > Grouping > Cluster
Star > Spectral Type > O
160,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =5h 37m 49.3s
Dec = -69° 16' 2.6"
Field of View
58.9 x 33.1 arcminutes
North is 90.0° left of vertical