NASA: James Webb Space Telescope Captures Early Star Formation, Internet Calls It ‘Unreal’

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The Milky Way and other surrounding galaxies form the local group of galaxies, and the largest and brightest region of star formation there is called 30 Doradus (or Tarantula Nebula). Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, our Milky Way’s smaller neighboring galaxy, 30 Doradus is often studied to shed light on the birth and evolution of stars like the Sun.

This composite image was created using X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-rays and infrared images from NASA’s James Webb telescope, both of which are used to explore this local part of space. Using the combined power of the two telescopes, researchers have located the remnants of supernova explosions, which will eventually become part of the next generation of stars. They also picked up a group of “proto stars,” similar to newborn babies, taking their first breaths and firing their stellar engines.

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The Tarantula Nebula as seen in a composite photo. The mist shines like oil and is filled with vibrant colors. The blue and purple X-ray data show the superheated gases in the center and bottom of the picture.

Spectacular swathes of colder gas can be seen in the upper part of the image and to the left and right, as shown by infrared data in red, orange, green and light blue. The scene is filled with several brilliant stars, the largest and brightest of which are concentrated in the center.

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The Tarantula Nebula, with its rapid star formation, provides a window into the early Milky Way. The Tarantula Nebula is a favorite of astronomers for its proximity, brightness and potential to reveal information about the history of star formation in our galaxy.