The detection of an older population in the Magellanic Bridge

Gemma Bagheri, M-R.L. Cioni, Ralf Napiwotzki

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Abstract

The Magellanic system comprises the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and the less frequently observed Magellanic Bridge and Magellanic Stream. The Bridge is traced by neutral gas and has an observed stellar component, while the Stream consists of gas only, with no observed stellar counterpart to date. This study uses catalogues created in the direction of the Bridge from 2MASS and WISE to investigate the stellar content of the Magellanic Bridge. Catalogues were created and colour-magnitude and two colour diagrams were analysed. A study was also carried out on removing the Galactic foreground population in the direction of the Magellanic Bridge, which was an important consideration due to the low stellar density within the Bridge. This study finds that the Magellanic Bridge contains a candidate older stellar population in addition to the younger population already known. The formation of the Magellanic Bridge is likely to have occurred from a tidal event between the LMC and SMC drawing most of the material into it from the SMC. An older population in the Bridge indicates that a stellar content was drawn in during its formation together with a gas component.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA78
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume551
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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