Thomas Preibisch


Under pressure: thermal and spatial structure of strongly irradiated clouds in the Carina Nebula, the nearest laboratory of massive star feedback

Thorsten Ratzka, Benjamin Gaczkowski


The Carina Nebula contains some of the most massive and luminous stars in our Galaxy and is the best site to study in detail the physics of violent massive star formation and the resulting feedback effects, i.e. cloud dispersal and triggering of star formation. As part of our comprehensive multi-wavelength (X-ray to sub-mm) surveys of the Carina Nebula we have used SPIRE and PACS to map the full spatial extent of the clouds (5.4 square degree). Our Herschel maps reveal the structure of the clouds in unprecedented detail and allow us to determine their physical properties (cloud temperatures, column densities, and cloud masses). By direct comparison of the data with detailed numerical simulations (hydrodynamics + ionizing radiation + stellar winds) we show how the feedback of the numerous massive stars disrupts and shapes the clouds, creates the observed complex pillar-like structures, and triggers the formation of a new generation of stars.