Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/L.Townsley et al.

True-Color Tarantula

The Tarantula Nebula (30 Doradus) in the Large Magellanic Cloud is the most active region of star formation close to the Milky Way. X-ray imaging of starburst regions like the Tarantula nebula help astronomers peer through the murk of interstellar gas and dust to see how young, massive stars form and interact with their nurseries. Now the Chandra X-ray Observatory has added an extra dimension - that of X-ray color. The image above is a "true-color" image ("true-color" if we had X-ray vision, that is) of the X-ray emission from the Tarantula Nebula. In this image cooler material emitting lower energy X-rays appears red, while hotter material emitting medium energy X-rays appears green, and the hottest material, emitting the highest energy X-rays detectable by Chandra, appears blue. The brightest source in the center of the image is known as Melnick 34, a 130 solar-mass star located slightly to the lower left of center. On the lower right of this image is a supernova remnant N157B, with its central pulsar.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified April 28, 2002