A Chandra ACIS study of 30 Doradus. I. Superbubbles and supernova remnants

Leisa K. Townsley, Patrick S. Broos, Eric D. Feigelson, Bernhard R. Brandi, You Hua Chu, Gordon P. Garmire, George G. Pavlov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


We present an X-ray tour of diffuse emission in the 30 Doradus star-forming complex in the Large Magellanic Cloud using high spatial resolution X-ray images and spatially resolved spectra obtained with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer on board the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The dominant X-ray feature of the 30 Doradus nebula is the intricate network of diffuse emission generated by interacting stellar winds and supernovae working together to create vast superbubbles filled with hot plasma. We construct maps of the region showing variations in plasma temperature (T = 3-9 million degrees), absorption [N H = (1-6) × 10 21 cm -2], and absorption-corrected X-ray surface brightness [S X = (3-126) × 10 31 ergs s -1 pc -2]. Enhanced images reveal the pulsar wind nebula in the composite supernova remnant N157B, and the Chandra data show spectral evolution from nonthermal synchrotron emission in the N157B core to a thermal plasma in its outer regions. In a companion paper we show that R136, the central massive star cluster, is resolved at the arcsecond level into almost 100 X-ray sources. Through X-ray studies of 30 Doradus the complete life cycle of such a massive stellar cluster can be revealed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2140-2163
Number of pages24
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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