Compact HII regions in the Magellanic Clouds

Using the superb resolving power of the Hubble Space Telescope, Vassilis Charmandaris and a team lead by M. Heydari-Malayeri (Paris Obs., France) are studing a sample of high excitation ``blobs'' (HEBs) which constitute a rare class of compact HII regions in the Magellanic Clouds. Contrary to the typical HII regions of these galaxies which are extended structures with sizes greater than 50pc, the compact HII regions are an order of magnitude smaller having diameters of less than about 4pc. HEBs are probably the final stages in the evolution of the ultra-compact HII regions, whose Galactic counterparts are detected only at infrared and radio wavelengths. The subsolar metallicity of the Small and Large Magellanic Cloud in conjunction with their location (being nearby and not affected by extinction due to the Galactic disk) makes the detailed study of their HEBs regions an excellent template for the understanding of star formation in low metallicity high-z galaxies.

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