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