30 Doradus (a.k.a. the Tarantula Nebula), with its ionizing cluster R136, is one of the few known starbursts in the Local Group. For size (~200 pc in diameter) and density of OB stars, 30 Doradus parallels the regions of intense star formation observed in the starburst knots found in the interacting galaxies in the Local Universe and the young galaxies at high redshift (z>5).
HTTP is a panchromatic imaging survey of stellar populations in the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud that reaches into the sub-solar mass regime (<0.5 M⊙). HTTP utilizes the capability of the Hubble Space Telescope to operate the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 in parallel to study this remarkable region in the near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared spectral regions, including narrow-band Hα images. The high sensitivity, spatial resolution and broadband coverage of HTTP allow us to dissect the stellar populations and infer an accurate description of the anatomy of the Tarantula Nebula, and therefore to reconstruct for the first time the temporal and spatial evolution of a prototypical starburst on a sub-parsec scale.
HTTP provides a unique multi-band view of the Tarantula Nebula, neccessary to map the stellar content of the Tarantula Nebula within its main body. HTTP allows us to:
- Investigate star formation in an environment that resembles the extreme conditions found in starburst galaxies and in the early universe;
- Reconstruct the temporal and spatial evolution of the stellar skeleton of the Tarantula Nebula over space and time;
- Test stellar models for very different evolutionary phases and mass regimes;
- Trace the extent of active star formation within the Nebula
- Yield the richest and most homogenous sample of metal-poor pre-main sequence stars of different ages and masses
- Study the properties of dust in a metal-poor starbursts