The Tarantula Nebula is located in the constellation Goldfish and belongs to the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy - a satellite of the Milky Way. This image is based on data compiled by Spitzer since 2003; however, most of it was received in February and September 2019.
“We chose the Tarantula Nebula as one of the first targets because we knew that this way we could show the full scope of the telescope's capabilities. There are many interesting dusty structures in this region, and active processes of star formation are underway. In these locations, infrared labs can see things that cannot be seen at other wavelengths,”says Michael Werner, one of the Spitzer mission's curators.
Infrared rays are invisible to the human eye, but some IR waves can penetrate clouds of dust and gas, that is, to do something that ordinary visible light is not capable of. This is why astrophysicists use infrared observations to study the formation of stars.
In the Tarantula Nebula, there is just one such region - the star cluster R136. In it, massive stars form very close to each other and at a much faster rate than in the rest of the galaxy. R136, an area with a radius of only 9 trillion kilometers, contains more than 40 massive stars, each at least 50 times more massive than the Sun.
NASA said goodbye to Spitzer on January 22, 2020. The telescope will finally complete its work on January 30, 2020. The duration of his mission was 15.5 years.
Supernova 1987A and star-forming cluster R136 are noted in this image.