The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a new photo of the Tarantula Nebula, a large star-forming region. Released on Wednesday, the image brings data from new observations in the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, revealing details of the nebula that could help astronomers understand how giant stars shape regions.
Also known as the “30 Dorados”, the Tarantula Nebula is considered to be one of the brightest and most active star formation regions in the vicinity of our galaxy. It is located in the giant Magellanic Cloud galaxy about 170,000 light-years from Earth, and in its center are some of the largest stars known today – some of which have more than 150 solar masses!
Check out the new photos:
Much of the previous study of the nebula has focused on its center. However, star formation is already known in other regions, and to better understand this process, the team worked with high-resolution observations over a large region of the nebula. With the ALMA telescope they measured the light emission of carbon monoxide gas.
This data allowed us to map large clouds of nebula gas, which collapse to form new stars. The team also looked at how young stars release as they release large amounts of energy. Author Tony Wong, who led the study, said: “We were expected to find out which part of the cloud had the closest sign of a large star, with clear signs that gravity was affected by the feedback.”
The process he mentions is related to pieces of air, which may be the remnants of clouds broken by the energy (reaction) of young, giant stars. Originally, astronomers believed that feedback made gas in the region too scarce to form new stars, but new data showed higher density fibers, where gravity plays a significant role.
“Our results suggest that even in the presence of strong feedback, gravity can have a strong effect and cause the star formation process to continue,” Wong added. “There’s more to do with this fantastic dataset, and we’re publishing it to encourage other researchers to investigate further,” he concluded.
The co-author of the study, Guido de Marchi, noted that the nebula is close enough to study in detail how stars form, and has properties similar to those found in distant galaxies when the world was young. “Thanks to 30 Dorados, we can study how stars formed 10 billion years ago, when most of them were born,” he said.
An article with the results of the study was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal.
Source: The Astrophysical Journal; Via: ESO