Kinematic structure of the 30 Doradus giant H II region

You Hua Chu, Robert C. Kennicutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have used the echelle CCD spectrograph on the CTIO 4 m telescope to map the nebular velocity field in the 30 Doradus giant H II region. The kinematics of 30 Dor are very complex. The outer regions are characterized by a smooth velocity field, but its turbulent velocity, 30-40 km s-1 FWHM, is considerably higher than those in most smaller H II regions. In the central 9′ core, multiple velocity components are observed at most positions. The velocity field is dominated by a large number of expanding structures, ranging in size from 1 to 100 pc and expansion velocities of 20-200 km s-1, and often organized into large hierarchical networks. The integral of these complex expanding structures in 30 Dor produces a surprisingly simple profile with a broad Gaussian core and faint extended wings. Several fast-expanding shells, with diameters of 2-20 pc, expansion velocities of 100-300 km s-1, and kinetic energies of 0.5-10 × 1050 ergs have been identified. The large fast-expanding shells and networks are coincident with extended X-ray sources and are probably associated with supernova remnants embedded in supershells produced by the combined effects of stellar winds and supernovae from OB associations. We have used the intensity-calibrated echelle spectra to determine the basic physical and dynamical properties of the kinematic features in 30 Dor. The expanding shells contain roughly half of the kinetic energy in the 30 Dor complex, and this energy is several times higher than the gravitational binding energy of the region. The energetic requirements of the gas are consistent with the observed stellar content of 30 Dor, if the gas is accelerated by a combination of stellar winds and supernovae. Extrapolating the current energy injection rate in the nebula over the lifetime of the OB complex suggest that 30 Dor and its vicinity will evolve into a supergiant shell as seen in the LMC and other nearby galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-737
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 1994


  • H II regions
  • ISM: individual (30 Doradus)
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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