ESO captures stunning view of the vast Tarantula Nebula

The European Southern Observatory’s 2.6-meter VLT Survey Telescope at the agency’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured one of the sharpest views yet of the spectacular Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Using a 256-megapixel camera – OmegaCAM – the VST captured multiple nebulae and star clusters in the Tarantula (also known as 30 Doradus), the brightest and most active star-forming region in the galaxies making up the Milky Way’s local group. The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of those galaxies, located about 160,000 light years from Earth and measuring 14,000 light years across. The Tarantula, first observed in 1751, stretches across 1,000 light years.

An ESO video based on the VLT Survey Telescope’s images takes viewers on a guided tour of the region.

The Tarantula Nebula and multiple star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud, as imaged by the VLT Survey Telescope. Image: ESO