Star cluster formation history along the minor axis of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Piatti, AE and Cole, AA and Emptage, B, Star cluster formation history along the minor axis of the Large Magellanic Cloud, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 473, (1) pp. 105-115. ISSN 0035-8711 (2018) [Refereed Article]
We analysed Washington CMT1 photometry of star clusters located along the minor axis of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), from the LMC optical centre up to ∼39° outwards to the North-West. The data base was exploited in order to search for new star cluster candidates, to produce cluster CMDs cleaned from field star contamination and to derive age estimates for a statistically complete cluster sample. We confirmed that 146 star cluster candidates are genuine physical systems, and concluded that an overall ∼30 per cent of catalogued clusters in the surveyed regions are unlikely to be true physical systems. We did not find any new cluster candidates in the outskirts of the LMC (deprojected distance ≳ 8°). The derived ages of the studied clusters are in the range 7.2 < log(t yr−1) ≤ 9.4, with the sole exception of the globular cluster NGC 1786 (log(t yr−1) = 10.10). We also calculated the cluster frequency for each region, from which we confirmed previously proposed outside–in formation scenarios. In addition, we found that the outer LMC fields show a sudden episode of cluster formation (log(t yr−1) ∼7.8–7.9) which continued until log(t yr−1) ∼7.3 only in the outermost LMC region. We link these features to the first pericentre passage of the LMC to the Milky Way (MW), which could have triggered cluster formation due to ram pressure interaction between the LMC and MW halo.