30 Doradus: The Starburst Next Door

Workshop Report

D. Lennon (SOC Chair), lennon@stsci.edu, S. Hanna (Workshop Coordinator), L. Smith, E. Sabbi, A. Wofford, B. Whitmore, S. de Mink, N. Walborn, & K. Gordon

The 30 Doradus or Tarantula Nebula region of the Large Magellanic Cloud is synonymous with many superlatives in astronomy, hosting as it does:

  • the most massive young resolved cluster, R136;
  • the most massive stars yet discovered;
  • the fastest rotating O-type stars; and
  • the most massive runaway star.

Its unique accessibility to detailed study—covering the electromagnetic spectrum from X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and through radio—is reflected in the many detailed surveys of this region obtained with facilities such as Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, Very Large Telecope (VLT)-Flames, and Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). While it is certainly a challenge to understand this wealth of information for such a complex region, it is worth addressing, since 30 Doradus may have much to teach us about more distant, unresolved starbursts and super star clusters.

On September 17–19, 2012, a group of around 50 astronomers—with interests ranging from stars to starbursts—gathered at the Institute to review the latest findings on 30 Doradus. The two-and-a-half-day mini-workshop was entitled “30 Doradus: The Starburst Next Door.”