Embedded Clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud using the VISTA Magellanic Clouds Survey

Krista Romita, Elisabeth Lada, M-R.L. Cioni

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We present initial results of the first large scale survey of embedded star clusters in molecular clouds in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using near-infrared (NIR) imaging from the VISTA Magellanic Clouds Survey (Cioni et al. 2011). We have explored a 1.65 deg sq. area of the LMC, which contains the well-known star-forming region 30 Doradus as well as 14% of the galaxy's CO clouds (Wong et al. 2011), and have identied 67 embedded cluster candidates, 45 of which are newly discovered as clusters. We have determined sizes, luminosities and masses for these embedded clusters, examined the star formation rates (SFRs) of their corresponding molecular clouds, and made a comparison between the LMC and the Milky Way. Our preliminary results indicate that embedded clusters in the LMC are generally larger, more luminous and more massive than those in the local Milky Way. We also find that the surface densities of both embedded clusters and molecular clouds is 3 times higher than in our local environment, the embedded cluster mass surface density is 40 times higher, the SFR is 20 times higher, and the star formation efficiency is 10 times higher. Despite these differences, the SFRs of the LMC molecular clouds are consistent with the SFR scaling law presented in Lada et al. (2012). This consistency indicates that while the conditions of embedded cluster formation may vary between environments, the overall process within molecular clouds may be universal
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016


  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: formation


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