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2012 30 Doradus: The Starburst Next Door

Star Formation in 30 Doradus

Presented by: Nino Panagia  (STSCI)
Category: Science Symposium   Duration: 20 minutes   Broadcast date: September 18, 2012
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Star Formation in 30 Doradus Prof. Nino Panagia (STScI) Using observations obtained with the HST-WFC3 we have studied the properties of the stellar populations in the central regions of 30 Dor in the Large Magellanic Cloud. We have searched for pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars by selecting objects with a strong (>4?) H? excess emission and find about 1150 of them over the entire field. We have determined their physical parameters (effective temperature, luminosity, mass, and age) by comparing their locations in the HR diagram with theoretical PMS evolutionary tracks. We find that about one-third of these objects are younger than 4 Myr, compatible with the age of the massive stars in the central ionizing cluster R 136, whereas the rest have ages up to 30 Myr, with a median age of 12 Myr. This indicates that star formation has proceeded over an extended period of time. While the younger PMS population preferentially occupies the central regions of the cluster, older PMS objects are more uniformly distributed across the field and are remarkably few at the very center of the cluster. We attribute this latter effect to photo-evaporation of the older circumstellar disks caused by the massive ionizing members of R 136. For all PMS stars we also determined the mass accretion rates from the luminosity of their H-alpha emission. We find values that are up to an order of magnitude higher than for galactic PMS stars with similar masses and ages but which are comparable to the ones determined for PMS stars in other young regions in the LMC and SMC.

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Nino Panagia's slides PowerPoint (.ppt)