Scientists have discovered that star formation began millions of years ago in the Tarantula nebula. The new stars, which are called protostars, are taking energy from the Small Magellanic Cloud. The resulting star clusters will give birth to new stars, which will eventually grow to become giant stars. This fascinating nebula is one of the most complex astronomical objects in the sky.
The starbursts within the Tarantula nebula are what make the rest of the nebula visible. This region of space contains around 2,400 massive stars that are producing intense radiation and powerful winds. These giant stars produce a lot of Chandra X-rays, which help astronomers observe the superheated gas. In addition to giant stars, these clusters are also home to some of the brightest and largest stars in the universe. Some of the young stars are 100 times more massive than the Sun.
Scientists first studied the Tarantula nebula after it was launched in 2003. The telescope returned several times to the nebula before its retirement on Jan. 30. Spitzer’s data from multiple observations have led to a new view of the Tarantula nebula. The image shows how the nebula’s gas mixture was formed over time.
The nebula began as a starburst, tens of millions of years ago. The gases accumulated in this space, resulting in pockets of hydrogen that eventually created the starbursts that formed the Tarantula nebula. The nebula’s bright central region is actually a super star cluster. While it was previously thought that the bright central region was a single star, it is now considered a super star cluster and contributes most of the nebula’s brightness.
The Tarantula nebula is the perfect place for studying star formation, as it represents the atmosphere that was left after the Big Bang. Other names for the Tarantula nebula include NGC 2074, the Seahorse of the Large Magellanic Cloud, and NG 2100. The latter structure is characterized by an inner cluster of blue-light stars and an outer ring of red-light stars.
The second major star cluster inside the Tarantula nebula is called Hodge 301. It is located opposite the R136 star cluster. Compared to NG 2070, Hodge 301 is much older, with an estimated age of 20 to 25 million years. This cluster has over 40 supernovae and red giant stars. Its rapid rotation makes the nebula look like an M&M instead of a sphere.
Supernova 1987A is located nearby Tarantula. This supernova, which was discovered in 1987, released an estimated 100 million solar masses of energy. The shockwave that escaped the supernova is still circulating through the galaxy. The shockwave causes dust and rocky debris to radiate heat. Scientists can observe this heat in infrared light. Spitzer’s observations of 1987A in 2019 have also revealed that the dust particles emitted from the supernova are composed mostly of silicates.