XMM 30 Doradus
Credit: ESA

Hot Light in the Stellar Nursery: The View from XMM-Newton

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a small irregular galaxy in orbit around the Milky Way. This galaxy is full of gas and dust, the raw materials out of which stars form, and is a site of active star formation, and frequent stellar death. The image above captures an image of extremely hot gas in one location of the LMC, the Tarantula Nebula, also known as the 30 Doradus Nebula, and reveals the full range of the life cycle of stars, from birth to death. This X-ray colour image, made with the EPIC camera on the XMM-Newton X-ray telescope shows spherical bubbles of hot gas produced by stellar explosions which are releasing newly manufactured elements into the Tarantula Nebula, and X-rays from newly formed, highly active young stars. The image is made so as to reveal the temperature of the X-ray emitting gas: blue indicating the hottest regions, green the intermediate temperatures and red the coldest regions (in X-ray speak, cold means temperatures of "only" 1 million degrees!). Most of the blue X-rays have never been observed this XMM-Newton observation.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified June 14, 2001