Monday, July 11, 2022

The Tarantula Nebula | NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (Infrared)

The Tarantula Nebula | NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (Infrared)

Before the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was the largest infrared telescope. This composite of 30 Doradus, aka the Tarantula Nebula, contains data from Chandra (blue), Hubble (green), and Spitzer (red). Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Tarantula Nebula is one of the largest star-forming regions close to the Milky Way. Chandra's X-rays detect gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by stellar winds and supernovas. This high-energy stellar activity creates shock fronts, which are similar to sonic booms. Hubble reveals the light from massive stars at various stages of star birth, while Spitzer shows where the relatively cooler gas and dust lie.

The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 25, 2003. Consisting of a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, Spitzer was the largest infrared space telescope before the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched in December 2021. The telescope was named in honor of American astronomer, Lyman Spitzer, who had promoted the concept of space telescopes in the 1940s. The retired Spitzer was the first observatory to provide high-resolution images of the near- and mid-infrared Universe. Webb, by virtue of its significantly larger primary mirror and improved detectors, will allow us to see the infrared sky with improved clarity (better spatial resolution), enabling even more discoveries.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, managed the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Science operations were conducted at the Spitzer Science Center, at Caltech, in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations were based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at Caltech/IPAC. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL/PSU/L.Townsley et al.

Image Date: April 17, 2012

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #30Doradus #TarantulaNebula #Nebula #Dorado #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #Spitzer #SpaceTelescope #Infrared #Hubble #Telescope #ChandraObservatory #Xray #JPL #Caltech #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #ESA #Europe #STEM #Education

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