SMASH 1: A VERY FAINT GLOBULAR CLUSTER DISRUPTING in the OUTER REACHES of the LMC?

Nicolas F. Martin, Valentin Jungbluth, David L. Nidever, Eric F. Bell, Gurtina Besla, Robert D. Blum, Maria Rosa L Cioni, Blair C. Conn, Catherine C. Kaleida, Carme Gallart, Shoko Jin, Steven R. Majewski, David Martinez-Delgado, Antonela Monachesi, Ricardo R. Muñoz, Noelia E D Noël, Knut Olsen, Guy S. Stringfellow, Roeland P. Van Der Marel, A. Katherina VivasAlistair R. Walker, Dennis Zaritsky

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Abstract

We present the discovery of a very faint stellar system, SMASH 1, that is potentially a satellite of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Found within the Survey of the Magellanic Stellar History (SMASH), SMASH 1 is a compact (rh=9.1-3.4+5.9pc) and very low luminosity (Mv=-1.0±0.9,Lv=102.3±0.4L ) stellar system that is revealed by its sparsely populated main sequence and a handful of red giant branch candidate member stars. The photometric properties of these stars are compatible with a metal-poor ([Fe/H]=-2.2) and old (13 Gyr) isochrone located at a distance modulus of ∼18.8, i.e., a distance of . Situated at 11.°3 from the LMC in projection, its three-dimensional distance from the Cloud is 13 kpc, consistent with a connection to the LMC, whose tidal radius is at least . Although the nature of SMASH 1 remains uncertain, its compactness favors it being a stellar cluster and hence dark-matter free. If this is the case, its dynamical tidal radius is only ≲19 pc at this distance from the LMC, and smaller than the system's extent on the sky. Its low luminosity and apparent high ellipticity (ϵ=0.62-0.21+0.17) with its major axis pointing toward the LMC may well be the tell-tale sign of its imminent tidal demise.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL10
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume830
Issue number1
Early online date6 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • globular clusters: individual: (SMASH 1)
  • Local Group
  • Magellanic Clouds

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