Resembling the home line of a burrowing tarantula with its silk, it is home to the hottest and most massive stars known to astronomers, according to NASA.
The Webb Telescope’s near-infrared camera, also called NIRCam, helped researchers see the region “in a new light, including tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously shrouded in cosmic dust,” according to NASA .
These protostars emerge from their “dusty cocoons” and help shape the nebula. The Webb Telescope’s near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSpec) captured a very young star doing this, changing astronomers’ previous beliefs about this star.
“Astronomers previously thought this star might be a bit older and already cleaning up a bubble around it,” according to NASA. “However, NIRSpec showed that the star was just beginning to emerge from its pillar and still maintained an insulating cloud of dust around it.
“Without Webb’s high-resolution spectra at infrared wavelengths, this episode of star formation in action could not have been revealed.”
Visualization through another Webb instrument that detects longer infrared wavelengths, and thus penetrates dust grains in the nebula, revealed a “previously unseen cosmic environment”, NASA said – hot stars faded as the cooler gas and dust shone.
The Tarantula Nebula has long been a focus of astronomers studying star formation because it has a similar chemical composition to the gigantic star-forming regions in the cosmic noon of the universe – when the cosmos does not was only a billion years old and star formation was at its peak, according to NASA.
Since the star-forming regions of our galaxy do not produce stars at the same rate as the Tarantula Nebula and have a different chemical makeup, the Tarantula is the closest example of what happened. passed into the universe when it reached noon.
Capturing star formation in the Tarantula Nebula is just the latest discovery from NASA’s Webb Telescope.
Webb was launched on Christmas Day last year after decades of work to create the world’s largest, most sophisticated space telescope.