H-alpha ground-based image of the entire N44
complex in the LMC.
Composite of [S II] image
(white) and ROSAT X-ray image (visible in
is N44C interesting to astronomers?
N44C is an intriguing object
because the star mainly responsible for illuminating
the nebula is unusually hot. The most massive
stars, ranging from 10-50 times more massive
than the Sun, have maximum temperatures of
30,000 to 50,000 degrees Kelvin. The star
illuminating N44C appears to be significantly
hotter, with a temperature of about 75,000
Ideas proposed to explain this
unusually high temperature include the possibility
of a neutron star or black hole that intermittently
produces X-rays but is now "switched
The filaments on the top right of the image
surround a Wolf-Rayet star, another kind of
rare star characterized by an exceptionally
vigorous "wind" of charged particles.
The shock of the wind colliding with the surrounding
gas causes the gas to glow.