S-DDT Highlight: 30 Doradus Maps using HAWC+

30 Dor plots

PropID: 76_0001
Community Science: HAWC+ Polarimetry of 30 Dor

Data for an unprecedented infrared polarimetric analysis of the 30 Doradus star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud were taken by HAWC+ in Cycle 6 during SOFIA's annual Southern Deployment in Christchurch, New Zealand. At the center is a cluster of O-type and Wolf-Rayet stars that heat the surrounding dust, allowing for in-depth total intensity and polarimetry analysis of star formation in the infrared. “Thirty Doradus is so close to us that we can resolve the region down to individual star-forming clusters,” says Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez, instrument scientist for HAWC+. “No other extragalactic star-formation region can be studied in such detail.” In addition, 30 Doradus is in a low-metalicity galaxy, so researchers can study the star-formation phenomenon as it was in the past when the metal content of the universe was much lower. 

SOFIA compiled polarization maps taken at 53, 89, 154, and 214 microns, revealing dust emission between 10-100 K and allowing for an inferred morphology study of the magnetic field.

Shorter wavelengths reveal hotter dust and yield information critical for studying magnetic field disturbances in dense, compact regions. At 53 microns, HAWC+ has an angular resolution of 4.9” Full width at half maximum (FWHM), a total intensity field of view of 2.8 x 1.7 arcmin 2, and a polarization field of view of 1.4 x 1.7 arcmin 2. 

Longer wavelengths comparatively indicate cooler dust and provide information about the magnetic field on large scales. At 214 microns, HAWC+ has an angular resolution of 18.2” FWHM, a total intensity field of view of 10.0 x 6.3 arcmin 2, and a polarization field of view of 5.0 x 6.3 arcmin 2.

What can you do with these data? Principle investigator for the proposal and Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations, Harold Yorke, has some ideas. “We don’t yet know the 3D topology of the magnetic field for 30 Doradus, or how star formation activity affects magnetic field topology in general,” Yorke says. “Discovering the role of magnetic fields in regulating star formation activity is another crucial astronomical goal where more research is needed.”

Read the press release here.

Accessing the 30 Dor Data

  • Visit the SOFIA Data Archive at IPAC 
  • Under "Spatial Constraints", select "All-Sky" 
  • Under “Proposal Constraints”, enter “76_0001” into PlanID field
  • Under “Data Product Constraints”, ensure that only “Level 4” is checked
  • Select Search


HAWC+ Data Handbook - Describes HAWC+ data products, processing steps, calibration procedures, and known issues.

HAWC+ 30 Doradus white paper

HAWC+ 30 Doradus Data Recipe - Guides users through Python analysis techniques using the 30 Doradus dataset, teaching readers how to probe HAWC+ data cubes and learn basic analysis techniques—such as plotting Stokes parameters, error maps, and polarization vectors—to jump-start their own research.

Share This Page