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Paper: The Carina Nebula: A Laboratory for Feedback and Triggered Star Formation
Monograph: 5, Handbook of Star Forming Regions:
Volume II, The Southern Sky
Page: 138
Abstract: The Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is our richest nearby laboratory in which to study feedback through UV radiation and stellar winds from very massive stars during the formation of an OB association, at an early phase before supernova explosions have disrupted the environment. This feedback is triggering new generations of star formation around the periphery of the nebula, while simultaneously evaporating the gas and dust reservoirs out of which young stars are trying to accrete. Carina is currently powered by UV radiation from 65 O-type stars and 3 WNH stars, but for most of its lifetime when its most massive star (η Carinae) was on the main-sequence, the Carina Nebula was powered by 70 O-type stars that produced a hydrogen ionizing luminosity 150 times stronger than in the Orion Nebula. At a distance of 2.3 kpc, Carina has the most extreme stellar population within a few kpc of the Sun, and suffers little interstellar extinction. It is our best bridge between the detailed star-formation processes that can be studied in nearby regions like Orion, and much more extreme but also more distant regions like 30 Doradus. Existing observations have only begun to tap the tremendous potential of this region for understanding the importance of feedback in star formation — it will provide a reservoir of new discoveries for the next generation of large ground-based telescopes, space telescopes, and large submillimeter and radio arrays.
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