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  1. Abstract We present analysis of the proper-motion (PM) field of the red clump stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) disk using the Gaia Early Data Release 3 catalog. Using a kinematic model based on old stars with 3D velocity measurements, we construct the residual PM field by subtracting the center-of-mass motion and internal rotation motion components. The residual PM field reveals asymmetric patterns, including larger residual PMs in the southern disk. Comparisons of the observed residual PM field with those of five numerical simulations of an LMC analog that is subject to the tidal fields of the Milky Way and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) show that the present-day LMC is not in dynamical equilibrium. We find that both the observed level of disk heating (PM residual rms of 0.057 ± 0.002 mas yr −1 ) and kinematic asymmetry are not reproduced by Milky Way tides or if the SMC impact parameter is larger than the size of the LMC disk. This measured level of disk heating provides a novel and important method to validate numerical simulations of the LMC–SMC interaction history. Our results alone put constraints on an impact parameter ≲10 kpc and impact timing <250 Myr. Whenmore »adopting the impact timing constraint of ∼140–160 Myr ago from previous studies, our results suggest that the most recent SMC encounter must have occurred with an impact parameter of ∼5 kpc. We also find consistent radial trends in the kinematically and geometrically derived disk inclination and line-of-node position angles, indicating a common origin.« less
  2. Abstract We report the first 3D kinematical measurements of 88 stars in the direction of several recently discovered substructures in the southern periphery of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using a combination of Gaia proper motions and radial velocities from the APOGEE-2 survey. More specifically, we explore stars in assorted APOGEE-2 pointings in a region of the LMC periphery where various overdensities of stars have previously been identified in maps of stars from Gaia and DECam. By using a model of the LMC disk rotation, we find that a sizable fraction of the APOGEE-2 stars have extreme space velocities that are distinct from, and not a simple extension of, the LMC disk. Using N -body hydrodynamical simulations of the past dynamical evolution and interaction of the LMC and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), we explore whether the extreme-velocity stars may be accounted for as tidal debris created in the course of that interaction. We conclude that the combination of LMC and SMC debris produced from their interaction is a promising explanation, although we cannot rule out other possible origins, and that these new data should be used to constrain future simulations of the LMC–SMC interaction. We also conclude that many ofmore »the stars in the southern periphery of the LMC lie outside of the LMC plane by several kiloparsecs. Given that the metallicity of these stars suggests that they are likely of Magellanic origin, our results suggest that a wider exploration of the past interaction history of the Magellanic Clouds is needed.« less

    The classical globular clusters found in all galaxy types have half-light radii of rh ∼ 2–4 pc, which have been tied to formation in the dense cores of giant molecular clouds. Some old star clusters have larger sizes, and it is unclear if these represent a fundamentally different mode of low-density star cluster formation. We report the discovery of a rare, young ‘faint fuzzy’ star cluster, NGC 247-SC1, on the outskirts of the low-mass spiral galaxy NGC 247 in the nearby Sculptor group, and measure its radial velocity using Keck spectroscopy. We use Hubble Space Telescope imaging to measure the cluster half-light radius of rh ≃ 12 pc and a luminosity of LV ≃ 4 × 105L⊙. We produce a colour–magnitude diagram of cluster stars and compare to theoretical isochrones, finding an age of ≃300 Myr, a metallicity of [Z/H] ∼ −0.6 and an inferred mass of M⋆ ≃ 9 × 104M⊙. The narrow width of blue-loop star magnitudes implies an age spread of ≲50 Myr, while no old red-giant branch stars are found, so SC1 is consistent with hosting a single stellar population, modulo several unexplained bright ‘red straggler’ stars. SC1 appears to be surrounded by tidal debris, at the end of an ∼2 kpc long stellar filament that alsomore »hosts two low-mass, low-density clusters of a similar age. We explore a link between the formation of these unusual clusters and an external perturbation of their host galaxy, illuminating a possible channel by which some clusters are born with large sizes.

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  4. We present a map of the total intrinsic reddening across ≃ 90 deg2 of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) derived using optical (ugriz) and near-infrared (IR; YJKs) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of background galaxies. The reddening map is created from a sample of 222,752 early-type galaxies based on the lephare χ2 minimization SED-fitting routine. We find excellent agreement between the regions of enhanced intrinsic reddening across the central (4 × 4 deg2) region of the LMC and the morphology of the low-level pervasive dust emission as traced by far-IR emission. In addition, we are able to distinguish smaller, isolated enhancements that are coincident with known star-forming regions and the clustering of young stars observed in morphology maps. The level of reddening associated with the molecular ridge south of 30 Doradus is, however, smaller than in the literature reddening maps. The reduced number of galaxies detected in this region, due to high extinction and crowding, may bias our results towards lower reddening values. Our map is consistent with maps derived from red clump stars and from the analysis of the star formation history across the LMC. This study represents one of the first large-scale categorisations of extragalactic sources behind the LMC and as suchmore »we provide the lephare outputs for our full sample of ∼ 2.5 million sources.« less
  5. Abstract Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a ground-based astronomical facility under construction, a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to conduct a multipurpose 10 yr optical survey of the Southern Hemisphere sky: the Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Significant flexibility in survey strategy remains within the constraints imposed by the core science goals of probing dark energy and dark matter, cataloging the solar system, exploring the transient optical sky, and mapping the Milky Way. The survey’s massive data throughput will be transformational for many other astrophysics domains and Rubin’s data access policy sets the stage for a huge community of potential users. To ensure that the survey science potential is maximized while serving as broad a community as possible, Rubin Observatory has involved the scientific community at large in the process of setting and refining the details of the observing strategy. The motivation, history, and decision-making process of this strategy optimization are detailed in this paper, giving context to the science-driven proposals and recommendations for the survey strategy included in this Focus Issue.
  6. ABSTRACT We present a map of the total intrinsic reddening across ≃34 deg2 of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) derived using optical (ugriz) and near-infrared (IR; YJKs) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of background galaxies. The reddening map is created using a subsample of 29 274 galaxies with low levels of intrinsic reddening based on the lephare χ2 minimization SED-fitting routine. We find statistically significant enhanced levels of reddening associated with the main body of the SMC compared with regions in the outskirts [ΔE(B − V) ≃ 0.3 mag]. A comparison with literature reddening maps of the SMC shows that, after correcting for differences in the volume of the SMC sampled, there is good agreement between our results and maps created using young stars. In contrast, we find significant discrepancies between our results and maps created using old stars or based on longer wavelength far-IR dust emission that could stem from biased samples in the former and uncertainties in the far-IR emissivity and the optical properties of the dust grains in the latter. This study represents one of the first large-scale categorizations of extragalactic sources behind the SMC and as such we provide the lephare outputs for our full sample of ∼500 000 sources.
  7. ABSTRACT The periphery of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) can unlock important information regarding galaxy formation and evolution in interacting systems. Here, we present a detailed study of the extended stellar structure of the SMC using deep colour–magnitude diagrams, obtained as part of the Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History (SMASH). Special care was taken in the decontamination of our data from Milky Way (MW) foreground stars, including from foreground globular clusters NGC 362 and 47 Tuc. We derived the SMC surface brightness using a ‘conservative’ approach from which we calculated the general parameters of the SMC, finding a staggered surface brightness profile. We also traced the fainter outskirts by constructing a stellar density profile. This approach, based on stellar counts of the oldest main-sequence turn-off stars, uncovered a tidally disrupted stellar feature that reaches as far out as 12 deg from the SMC centre. We also serendipitously found a faint feature of unknown origin located at ∼14 deg from the centre of the SMC and that we tentatively associated with a more distant structure. We compared our results to in-house simulations of a 1 × 109 M⊙ SMC, finding that its elliptical shape can be explained by its tidal disruption undermore »the combined presence of the MW and the Large Magellanic Cloud. Finally, we found that the older stellar populations show a smooth profile while the younger component presents a jump in the density followed by a flat profile, confirming the heavily disturbed nature of the SMC.« less
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    Time series observations of a single dithered field centred on the diffuse dwarf satellite galaxy Crater II were obtained with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) at the 4m Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile, uniformly covering up to two half-light radii. Analysis of the g and i time series results in the identification and characterization of 130 periodic variable stars, including 98 RR Lyrae stars, 7 anomalous Cepheids, and 1 SX Phoenicis star belonging to the Crater II population, and 24 foreground variables of different types. Using the large number of ab-type RR Lyrae stars present in the galaxy, we obtained a distance modulus to Crater II of (m − M)0 = 20.333 ± 0.004 (stat) ±0.07 (sys). The distribution of the RR Lyrae stars suggests an elliptical shape for Crater II, with an ellipticity of 0.24 and a position angle of 153°. From the RR Lyrae stars, we infer a small metallicity dispersion for the old population of Crater II of only 0.17 dex. There are hints that the most metal-poor stars in that narrow distribution have a wider distribution across the galaxy, while the slightly more metal-rich part of the population is more centrally concentrated. Given the featuresmore »in the colour–magnitude diagram of Crater II, the anomalous Cepheids in this galaxy must have formed through a binary evolution channel of an old population.

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