JWST Observations of Starbursts: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Emission at the Base of the M82 Galactic Wind

May 2024 • 2024ApJ...967...63B

Authors • Bolatto, Alberto D. • Levy, Rebecca C. • Tarantino, Elizabeth • Boyer, Martha L. • Fisher, Deanne B. • Cronin, Serena A. • Leroy, Adam K. • Klessen, Ralf S. • Smith, J. D. • Berg, Danielle A. • Böker, Torsten • Boogaard, Leindert A. • Ostriker, Eve C. • Thompson, Todd A. • Ott, Juergen • Lenkić, Laura • Lopez, Laura A. • Dale, Daniel A. • Veilleux, Sylvain • van der Werf, Paul P. • Glover, Simon C. O. • Sandstrom, Karin M. • Skillman, Evan D. • Chisholm, John • Villanueva, Vicente • Lai, Thomas S. -Y. • Lopez, Sebastian • Mills, Elisabeth A. C. • Emig, Kimberly L. • Armus, Lee • Mayya, Divakara • Meier, David S. • De Looze, Ilse • Herrera-Camus, Rodrigo • Walter, Fabian • Relaño, Mónica • Koziol, Hannah B. • Marvil, Joshua • Jiménez-Donaire, María J. • Martini, Paul

Abstract • We present new observations of the central 1 kpc of the M82 starburst obtained with the James Webb Space Telescope near-infrared camera instrument at a resolution θ ∼ 0.″05–0.″1 (∼1–2 pc). The data comprises images in three mostly continuum filters (F140M, F250M, and F360M), and filters that contain [Fe II] (F164N), H2 v = 1 → 0 (F212N), and the 3.3 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) feature (F335M). We find prominent plumes of PAH emission extending outward from the central starburst region, together with a network of complex filamentary substructures and edge-brightened bubble-like features. The structure of the PAH emission closely resembles that of the ionized gas, as revealed in Paschen α and free–free radio emission. We discuss the origin of the structure, and suggest the PAHs are embedded in a combination of neutral, molecular, and photoionized gas.


IPAC Authors


Lee Armus

Senior Scientist

Thomas Lai

Postdoctoral Research Associate