The Hubble Telescope Celebrates its 22nd Anniversary
Apr 18, 2012; 4:00 AM ET
Several million young stars are shown in a new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of an incredible stellar breeding ground called 30 Doradus, a star-forming complex located in the heart of the Tarantula nebula.
The new image comprises one of the largest collections of images ever assembled from Hubble photos and includes observations taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore recently released the image in celebration of Hubble’s 22nd anniversary.
The 30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region in our galactic neighborhood and home to the most massive stars ever seen. The nebula is 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. No known star-forming region in our galaxy is as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus.
Collectively, the stars in the image are millions of times more massive than our Sun. The image is roughly 650 light-years across and contains some rambunctious stars, including one of the fastest rotating stars and the highest velocity stars ever observed by astronomers.
The region’s sparkling centerpiece is a giant young star cluster named NGC 2070 which is only 2 million to 3 million years old. It has about 500,000 stars. The cluster is a hotbed for young, massive stars. Its dense core, known as R136, is packed with some of the heftiest stars found in the nearby universe, weighing more than 100 times the mass of our Sun.
An image of 30 Daradus thanks to the Hubble telescope
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