Stellar feedback and triggered star formation in the prototypical bubble RCW 120

Matteo Luisi, Loren D. Anderson, Nicola Schneider, Robert Simon, Slawa Kabanovic, Rolf Güsten, Annie Zavagno, Patrick S. Broos, Christof Buchbender, Cristian Guevara, Karl Jacobs, Matthias Justen, Bernd Klein, Dylan Linville, Markus Röllig, Delphine Russeil, Jürgen Stutzki, Maitraiyee Tiwari, Leisa K. Townsley, Alexander G.G.M. Tielens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Radiative and mechanical feedback of massive stars regulates star formation and galaxy evolution. Positive feedback triggers the creation of new stars by collecting dense shells of gas, while negative feedback disrupts star formation by shredding molecular clouds. Although key to understanding star formation, their relative importance is unknown. Here, we report velocity-resolved observations from the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) legacy program FEEDBACK of the massive star-forming region RCW 120 in the [CII] 1.9-THz fine-structure line, revealing a gas shell expanding at 15 km/s. Complementary APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) CO J = 3-2 345-GHz observations exhibit a ring structure of molecular gas, fragmented into clumps that are actively forming stars. Our observations demonstrate that triggered star formation can occur on much shorter time scales than hitherto thought (<0.15 million years), suggesting that positive feedback operates on short time periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabe9511
JournalScience Advances
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 9 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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