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The VMC survey – XLIV: Mapping metallicity trends in the large magellanic cloud using near-infrared passbands

Choudhury, Samyaday; de Grijs, Richard; Bekki, Kenji; Cioni, Maria-Rosa L; Ivanov, Valentin D; Van Loon, Jacco Th; Miller, Amy E; Niederhofer, Florian; Oliveira, Joana M; Ripepi, Vincenzo; Sun, Ning-Chen; Subramanian, Smitha

The VMC survey – XLIV: Mapping metallicity trends in the large magellanic cloud using near-infrared passbands Thumbnail


Samyaday Choudhury

Richard de Grijs

Kenji Bekki

Maria-Rosa L Cioni

Valentin D Ivanov

Jacco Th Van Loon

Amy E Miller

Florian Niederhofer

Vincenzo Ripepi

Ning-Chen Sun

Smitha Subramanian


We have derived high-spatial-resolution metallicity maps covering ~105 deg2 across the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using near-infrared passbands from the VISTA Survey of the Magellanic Clouds. We attempt to understand the metallicity distribution and gradients of the LMC up to a radius of ~ 6 kpc. We identify red giant branch (RGB) stars in spatially distinct Y, (Y - Ks) colour–magnitude diagrams. In any of our selected subregions, the RGB slope is used as an indicator of the average metallicity, based on calibration to metallicity using spectroscopic data. The mean LMC metallicity is [Fe/H] = -0.42 dex (s[Fe/H] = 0.04 dex). We find the bar to be mildly metal-rich compared with the outer disc, showing evidence of a shallow gradient in metallicity (-0.008 ± 0.001 dex kpc-1) from the galaxy’s centre to a radius of 6 kpc. Our results suggest that the LMC’s stellar bar is chemically similar to the bars found in large spiral galaxies. The LMC’s radial metallicity gradient is asymmetric. It is metal-poor and flatter towards the southwest, in the direction of the Bridge. This hints at mixing and/or distortion of the spatial metallicity distribution, presumably caused by tidal interactions between the Magellanic Clouds.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 30, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 507
Issue 4
Pages 4752-4763
Keywords stars: abundances, Hertzsprung-Russell and colour-magnitude diagrams, galaxies: abundanes, Local Group, Magellanic Clouds
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