As signature subhead reverse@2x
Stars and stellar evolution
30 Doradus: A Turbulent Star-forming Region
Half size lp 30 doradus a turbulent star forming region 2x
(4.76 MB)

Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula. It is the brightest nearby star-forming region and home to the most massive stars in our cosmic neighborhood. 

Facts of interest about the image

The Hubble image reveals a gaseous landscape of clouds, bubbles, pillars, and ridges. Stars are born deep within the dense, dark clouds and, once formed, act to re-shape the nebula.

Classroom activity

An inquiry-based classroom activity that focuses on the image and text is included.


This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a panorama of turbulent star birth, located close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual stars. The star factory resides 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. Included is an inquiry-based classroom activity.

11-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Teachers can use this lithograph as:

An example of different stages in a star's life. Use the inquiry-based classroom activity, "In Search of … Star Formation," which is included with the PDF lithograph.

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the images on the lithograph. Ask them to write down as many questions as possible about the features visible in the images. The students' questions can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Have students exchange papers so that each student has someone else's questions. Then have them find the answers to the other students' questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Ask for volunteers to read the questions as someone records them on the blackboard or on an overhead transparency sheet. Ask students to raise their hands if they have the same or a similar question. Count the number of raised hands and record the total next to the question. Once all the students' questions have been added to the list, ask them to search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they have completed that task, ask them to decide if each of their questions was answered completely, answered partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of those questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those that were answered partially, and an "N" for those that were not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions were also answered completely. Encourage students to conduct further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the back of the lithograph and write a quiz for the class.

Related materials