Methods to Identify Star Clusters in The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)

  • Prasantha K Nayak Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore
  • Annapurni Subramaniam Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore
Keywords: Large Magellanic Cloud, star cluster, isochrone, star formation history, colour magnitude diagram


The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) hosts a few thousand star clusters which are ideal tools to study stellar evolution, star formation history, cluster formation and dissolution processes in the galaxy. Although many surveys (like IRSF, OGLE II etc) of the LMC have been carried out, a large fraction of clusters, mainly poor ones are yet to be identified. Also, the parameters of already identified clusters are not well studied. In this context, we have  tried to explore that among the available and upcoming surveys which survey (optical/NIR) can be used to efficiently detect and study the clusters in the LMC. We have found that the available OGLE-III optical data is ideal for this purpose, but only for young clusters, whereas Deeper optical data from DECAM survey, OGLE-IV and skymapper are ideal to study poor and old clusters. We have also found that one can combine  the ongoing VISTA data with upcoming optical data (OGLE IV) and estimate the cluster parameters more accurately.

Author Biographies

Prasantha K Nayak, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Annapurni Subramaniam, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore


[1] Besla, G., Kallivayalil, N., Hernquist, L., van der Marel, R.P., Cox, T.J. and Kereˇs, D., 2012. The role of dwarf galaxy interactions in shaping the Magellanic System and implications for Magellanic Irregulars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 421, no. 3, pp. 2109-2138.
[2] Bica, E., Bonatto, C., Dutra, C.M. and Santos Jr, J.F., 2008. A general catalogue of extended objects in the Magellanic System. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 389, no.2, pp.678-690.
[3] Diaz, J. and Bekki, K. Constraining the orbital history of the Magellanic Clouds: a new bound scenario suggested by the tidal origin of the Magellanic Stream. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 413, no. 3, pp. 2015-2020, 2011.
[4] Diaz, J.D. and Bekki, K. The tidal origin of the magellanic stream and the possibility of a stellar counterpart. The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 750, no. 1, pp. 36, 2012.
[5] Glatt, K., Grebel, E.K. and Koch, A. Ages and luminosities of young SMC/LMC star clusters and the recent star formation history of the Clouds. Astronomy & Astrophysics, vol. 517, p. A50, 2010.
[6] Harris, J. and Zaritsky, D. The star formation history of the large magellanic cloud. The Astronomical Journal, vol. 138, no. 5, p. 1243, 2009.
[7] Kato, D., Nagashima, C., Nagayama, T., Kurita, M., Koerwer, J.F., Kawai, T., Yamamuro, T., Zenno, T., Nishiyama, S., Baba, D. and Kadowaki, R. The IRSF Magellanic Clouds point source catalog. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 615-641, 2007.
[8] Marigo, P., Girardi, L., Bressan, A., Groenewegen, M.A., Silva, L. and Granato, G.L. Evolution of asymptotic giant branch stars-II. Optical to far-infrared isochrones with improved TP-AGB models. Astronomy & Astrophysics, vol. 482, no. 3, pp. 883-905, 2008.
[9] Nikolaev, S., Drake, A.J., Keller, S.C., Cook, K.H., Dalal, N., Griest, K.,Welch, D.L. and Kanbur, S.M. Geometry of the large magellanic cloud disk: Results from macho and the two micron all sky survey. The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 601, no. 1, p. 260, 2004.
[10] Olsen, K.A.G. and Salyk, C., “A warp in the Large Magellanic Cloud disk?,” The Astronomical Journal, vol. 124, no. 4, p.2045, 2002.
[11] Pietrzynski, G. and Udalski, A.,“The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. Ages of about 600 Star Clusters from the LMC,”Acta Astron., vol. 50, pp. 337–354, 2000.
[12] Andr´es E. Piatti and Doug Geisler, “The Age-Metallicity Relationship of the Large Magellanic Cloud Field Star Population from Wide-field Washington Photometry,”The Astronomical Journal, vol. 145, no. 1, pp. 17, 2013.
[13] Popescu, B., Hanson, M.M. and Elmegreen, B.G., “Age and Mass for 920 Large Magellanic Cloud Clusters Derived from 100 Million Monte Carlo Simulations,” The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 751, no. 2, pp. 122, 2012.
[14] Mary E. Putman, Lister Staveley-Smith, Kenneth C. Freeman, Brad K. Gibson and David G. Barnes, “The Magellanic Stream, High-Velocity Clouds, and the Sculptor Group,” The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 586, no. 1, pp. 170-194, 2003.
[15] Saha, A., Olszewski, E. W., Brondel, B., Olsen, K., Knezek, P., Harris, J., Smith, C., Subramaniam, A., Claver, J., Rest, A.,
Seitzer, P., Cook, K. H., Minniti, D. and Suntzeff, N. B., “First Results from the NOAO Survey of the Outer Limits of the Magellanic Clouds,” Astron. J., vol. 140, pp. 1719–1738, 2010.
[16] Subramanian, S. and Subramaniam, A., “An estimate of the structural parameters of the Large Magellanic Cloud using red clump stars,” Astron. Astrophys., vol. 520, A24, 2010.
[17] Udalski, A., Szymanski, M.K., Soszynski, I. and Poleski, R., 2008. The optical gravitational lensing experiment. final reductions of the OGLE-III Data. arXiv preprint arXiv:0807.3884.
[18] van der Marel, R.P. and Cioni, M.R.L., “Magellanic Cloud structure from near-infrared surveys. I. The viewing angles of the
Large Mag,” 2001.
[19] Westerlund, B.E., The Magellanic Clouds, vol. 29. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
[20] Zaritsky, D., Harris, J., Thompson, I.B. and Grebel, E.K., The Magellanic Clouds photometric survey: The Large Magellanic
Cloud stellar catalog and extinction map. The Astronomical Journal, vol. 128, no. 4, pp. 1606, 2004.
[21] Zaritsky, D., Harris, J., Thompson, I.B., Grebel, E.K. and Massey, P., “The magellanic clouds photomtric survey: the small magellanic
cloud stellar catalog and extinction map,” The Astronomical Journal, vol. 123, no. 2, pp. 855, 2002.
Research Articles