Kinematical and Physical Properties of a 700 pc Large Bubble in NGC 6946

Sánchez Gil, M. Carmen; Alfaro, Emilio J.; Pérez, Enrique
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 702, Issue 1, pp. 141-153 (2009).


The galaxy NGC 6946 contains a gas-star complex of 700 pc in diameter which appears populated by tens of young stellar clusters, and a super star cluster (SSC) as massive as 106 M sun. The ionized gas, as drawn by the Hα emission, delineates an almost circular shape which we show here to be in expansion. Previous studies have analyzed the stellar component of the complex, as well as the structure of the atomic and ionized gas; these analyses were restricted to the blueshifted component along the whole extent of the bubble or to a smaller inner region where both sides of an expanding bubble were seen. In this work, we present a complete spectroscopic study of this object for two position angles crossing each other close to the young massive SSC. We have obtained new data with a spectral resolution six times better than previous spectroscopic studies, taken under atmospheric conditions better than those previously reported, allowing us to detect the approaching and receding walls of one the largest bubbles in external galaxies ever studied in detail. The kinematical analysis shows a large expanding bubble, whose walls appear to be highly structured with superposed smaller shells, likely originated as the result of star-forming events occurring at the edges of the larger scale shell, a la Huygens. We also study some diagnostic diagrams of the ionized gas and conclude that most of the observed ionization is originated by photons from hot stars, but with clear evidence that some of the gas is shock ionized. This peculiar complex is an excellent laboratory for the analysis of the interaction and feedback between the gas where the stars were formed and the young and massive generation of new born stars.