Gas near the center of 30 Doradus as revealed by Hubble Space Telescope images

Deidre A. Hunter, Edward J. Shaya, Paul Scowen, J. Jeff Hester, Edward J. Groth, Roger Lynds, Earl J. O'Neil

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31 Scopus citations


We present images of a 40 pc region of the 30 Doradus nebula centered about 1 arcminute north of the luminous star cluster R136 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The region was imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera through Hα, [S II], and stellar continuum filters. These data allow us to examine this region of star formation and the breakup of the cloud around R136 on a scale of 0.027 pc per pixel. We also present a complementary ground-based echelle spectrum of the Hα and [N II] emission lines in this region. In the images one sees an extensive filamentary structure surrounding regions that have been hollowed out by R136 and other massive stars in the area. The [S II] image shows a sharper, more filamentary appearance than the Hα image, and the filaments are offset in [S II] generally away from R136. These characteristics are indicative of ionization fronts that are outlining the neutral material and dust features. We also find fingers of enhanced [S II] emission located about 90″ to the northwest of R136. The [S II] fingers appear to be radiating generally from a common region, and we suggest that they are composed of material ablated from the high density gas of the ionization fronts and entrained with the flow of the stellar winds from R136. We find that a small knot of emission resolves into two shells of about 0.5 pc diameter, each of which encircles one or two stars. One of the stars has been identified as an early main-sequence O star by Walborn & Blades (1987), and the shell could be a young wind-blown bubble. We also find a parabolic-shaped arc at the head of a long cone that opens up away from R136. The arc is located near a luminous candidate protostar identified by Hyland et al. (1992).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-764
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 1995


  • ISM: individual (30 Doradus)
  • ISM: structure
  • Stars: individual (LMC R136)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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