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A Stellar Nursery with Thousands of Young Stars Is Revealed in New Telescope Image

NASA and the ESA have unveiled another stunning image from the James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

It’s boom times for people who love sultry space images. The Hubble Space Telescope changed how we view space, bringing distant objects into our homes. The James Webb Space Telescope, launched at the end of 2021, is expected to have a similar impact. 

It has been furiously working toward that goal since NASA unveiled the first image from the new telescope in July. On September 6, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) shared yet another stunner from the Webb. This time, the telescope has trained its eyes on the Tarantula Nebula, a “stellar nursery” where thousands of young stars are being born. 

The region, situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, is called 30 Doradus, the more formal name for the Tarantula Nebula, according to the ESA. It says that the nebula “has long been a favorite for astronomers studying star formation.” It sits 161,000 light-years from Earth. That is incredibly far away, but it is also relatively close. It is the largest and brightest star-forming region in the galaxies near the Milky Way. 

The Tarantula Nebula has been imaged before, but as you would expect from the fresh space toy, we are getting a sumptuous new view. In the image, you can also see “distant background galaxies, as well as the detailed structure and composition of the nebula’s gas and dust,” per the ESA.

The international team behind the Webb Telescope focused three of the telescope’s high-resolution infrared instruments at the Tarantula Nebula, where the hottest, most massive stars known to astronomers exist. 

The ESA explains some of what you’re seeing in the image: “The nebula’s cavity centered in the NIRCam image has been hollowed out by blistering radiation from a cluster of massive young stars, which sparkle pale blue in the image. Only the densest surrounding areas of the nebula resist erosion by these stars’ powerful stellar winds, forming pillars that appear to point back toward the cluster. These pillars contain forming protostars, which will eventually emerge from their dusty cocoons and take their turn shaping the nebula.”

NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

A second image shared on September 6 shows the Tarantula Nebula viewed in longer infrared wavelengths. The hotter stars fade into the background as gas and dust glow vibrantly.

The brighter points of light reveal protostars that are still gaining mass. “While shorter wavelengths of light are absorbed or scattered by dust grains in the nebula, and therefore never reach Webb to be detected,” the ESA writes, “longer mid-infrared wavelengths penetrate that dust, ultimate revealing a previously unseen cosmic environment.”

The James Webb Space Telescope continues to amaze. Not only is it aiding in research, but the images are stunningly beautiful for those of us who just enjoy admiring the wonders and mysteries of the universe. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you’re just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin on Twitter.

News

Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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