VLT/X-shooter spectroscopy of massive young stellar objects in the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud

van Gelder, M. L.;  Kaper, L.;  Japelj, J.;  Ramírez-Tannus, M. C.;  Ellerbroek, L. E.;  Barbá, R. H.; Bestenlehner, J. M.;  Bik, A.;  Gräfener, G.;  de Koter, A.;  de Mink, S. E.;  Sabbi, E.;  Sana, H.;  Sewiło, M.; Vink, J. S.;  Walborn, N. R.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 636, id.A54, 26 pp. (2020).


The process of massive star (M ≥ 8 M☉) formation is still poorly understood. Observations of massive young stellar objects (MYSOs) are challenging due to their rarity, short formation timescale, large distances, and high circumstellar extinction. Here, we present the results of a spectroscopic analysis of a population of MYSOs in the Large Magellanic Cloud. We took advantage of the spectral resolution and wavelength coverage of X-shooter (300-2500 nm), which is mounted on the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope, to detect characteristic spectral features in a dozen MYSO candidates near 30 Doradus, the largest starburst region in the Local Group hosting the most massive stars known. The X-shooter spectra are strongly contaminated by nebular emission. We used a scaling method to subtract the nebular contamination from our objects. We detect Hα, β, [O I] 630.0 nm, Ca II, infrared triplet [Fe II] 1643.5 nm, fluorescent Fe II 1687.8 nm, H22121.8 nm, Brγ, and CO bandhead emission in the spectra of multiple candidates. This leads to the spectroscopic confirmation of ten candidates as bona fide MYSOs. We compared our observations with photometric observations from the literature and find all MYSOs to have a strong near-infrared excess. We computed lower limits to the brightness and luminosity of the MYSO candidates, confirming the near-infrared excess and the massive nature of the objects. No clear correlation is seen between the Brγ luminosity and metallicity. Combining our sample with other LMC samples results in a combined detection rate of disk features, such as fluorescent Fe II and CO bandheads, which is consistent with the Galactic rate (40%). Most of our MYSOs show outflow features. 

The full X-shooter spectra are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via

Based on observations at the European Southern Observatory under ESO program 090.C-0346(A).