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The star formation history of the large magellanic cloud

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Smecker-Hane, TA and Cole, AA and Gallagher, JS and Stetson, PB (2002) The star formation history of the large magellanic cloud. The Astrophysical Journal, 566 (1). pp. 239-244. ISSN 0004-637X

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Abstract

Using WFPC2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope, we have created deep color-magnitude diagrams in the V and I passbands for approximately 105 stars in a field at the center of the LMC bar and another in the disk. The main-sequence luminosity functions (LFs) from 19V23.5, the red clump and horizontal branch morphologies, and the differential Hess diagram of the two fields all strongly imply that the disk and bar have significantly different star formation histories (SFHs). The disk's SFH has been relatively smooth and continuous over the last 15 Gyr, while the bar's SFH was dominated by star formation episodes at intermediate ages. Comparison of the LF against predictions based on Padova theoretical stellar evolution models and an assumed age-metallicity relationship allows us to identify the dominant stellar populations in the bar with episodes of star formation that occurred from 4 to 6 and 1 to 2 Gyr ago. These events accounted for 25% and 15%, respectively, of its stellar mass. The disk field may share a mild enhancement in SF for the younger episode, and thus we identify the 4 to 6 Gyr episode with the formation of the LMC bar.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: galaxies: stellar content, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Magellanic Clouds
Journal or Publication Title: The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range: pp. 239-244
ISSN: 0004-637X
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1086/337985
Additional Information: Copyright 2002. The American Astronomical Society
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2007 00:23
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:25
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/2514
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