Ionized Gas Motions and the Structure of Feedback near a Forming Globular Cluster in NGC 5253

Daniel P. Cohen, Jean L. Turner, S. Michelle Consiglio, Emily C. Martin, Sara C. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We observed Brackett α 4.05 μm emission toward the supernebula in NGC 5253 with NIRSPEC on Keck II in adaptive optics mode, NIRSPAO, to probe feedback from its exciting embedded super star cluster (SSC). NIRSPEC's Slit-viewing Camera was simultaneously used to image the K-band continuum at ∼0.″1 resolution. We register the IR continuum with HST imaging, and find that the visible clusters are offset from the K-band peak, which coincides with the Brα peak of the supernebula and its associated molecular cloud. The spectra of the supernebula exhibit Brα emission with a strong, narrow core. The linewidths are 65-76 km s-1, FWHM, comparable to those around individual ultra-compact H ii regions within our Galaxy. A weak, broad (FWHM ≃ 150-175 km s-1) component is detected on the base of the line, which could trace a population of sources with high-velocity winds. The core velocity of Brα emission shifts by +13 km s-1 from NE to SW across the supernebula, possibly indicating a bipolar outflow from an embedded object or a link to a foreground redshifted gas filament. The results can be explained if the supernebula comprises thousands of ionized wind regions around individual massive stars, stalled in their expansion due to critical radiative cooling and unable to merge to drive a coherent cluster wind. Based on the absence of an outflow with large mass loss, we conclude that feedback is currently ineffective at dispersing gas, and the SSC retains enriched material out of which it may continue to form stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2018


FundersFunder number
National Science FoundationAST 1515570, 1515570
W. M. Keck Foundation


    • H II regions
    • galaxies: dwarf
    • galaxies: individual (NGC 5253)
    • galaxies: star clusters: general
    • galaxies: star formation
    • galaxies: starburst


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