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The VMC Survey - XXIV. Signatures of tidally stripped stellar populations from the inner Small Magellanic Cloud

Van Loon

The VMC Survey - XXIV. Signatures of tidally stripped stellar populations from the inner Small Magellanic Cloud Thumbnail


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Abstract

We study the luminosity function of intermediate-age red clump stars using deep, near-infrared photometric data covering ~20 deg2 located throughout the central part of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), comprising the main body and the galaxy's eastern wing, based on observations obtained with the VISTA Survey of the Magellanic Clouds (VMC). We identified regions that show a foreground population (~11.8 ± 2.0 kpc in front of the main body) in the form of a distance bimodality in the red clump distribution. The most likely explanation for the origin of this feature is tidal stripping from the SMC rather than the extended stellar haloes of the Magellanic Clouds and/or tidally stripped stars from the Large Magellanic Cloud. The homogeneous and continuous VMC data trace this feature in the direction of the Magellanic Bridge and, particularly, identify (for the first time) the inner region (~2–2.5 kpc from the centre) from where the signatures of interactions start becoming evident. This result provides observational evidence of the formation of the Magellanic Bridge from tidally stripped material from the SMC.

Citation

Van Loon. (2017). The VMC Survey - XXIV. Signatures of tidally stripped stellar populations from the inner Small Magellanic Cloud. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2980 - 2995. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx205

Acceptance Date Jan 19, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2017
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 2980 - 2995
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx205
Keywords stars: individual: red clump stars, galaxies: interactions, Magellanic Clouds
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx205

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