We use our new optical-imaging and spectrophotometric survey of key diagnostic emission lines in 30 Doradus, together with CLOUDY photoionization models, to study the physical conditions and ionization mechanisms along over 4000 individual lines of sight at points spread across the face of the extended nebula, out to a projected radius 75 pc from R136 at the center of the ionizing cluster NGC 2070. We focus on the physical conditions, geometry, and importance of radiation pressure on a point-by-point basis, with the aim of setting observational constraints on important feedback processes. We find that the dynamics and large-scale structure of 30 Dor are set by a confined system of X-ray bubbles in rough pressure equilibrium with each other and with the confining molecular gas. Although the warm (10,000 K) gas is photoionized by the massive young stars in NGC 2070, the radiation pressure does not currently play a major role in shaping the overall structure. The completeness of our survey also allows us to create a composite spectrum of 30 Doradus, simulating the observable spectrum of a spatially unresolved, distant giant extragalactic H II region. We find that the highly simplified models used in the "strong line" abundance technique do in fact reproduce our observed line strengths and deduced chemical abundances, in spite of the more than one order of magnitude range in the ionization parameter and density of the actual gas in 30 Dor.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in The Astrophysical Journal, v. 738, no. 1, 34, p. 1-20.

© 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

The copyright holder has granted permission for posting the article here.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

E.W.P. gratefully acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation (grant AST-0305833), NASA (07-ATFP07-0124, STScI GO09736.02-A, and STScI AR-10932), and Michigan State University's Center for the Study of Cosmic Evolution. J.A.B. acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-0305833 and NASA grant NNX10AD05G. G.J.F. gratefully acknowledges support from NASA grant 07-ATFP07-0124 and from NSF through 0607028 and 0908877.