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Star Formation History of the Small Magellanic Cloud: Six Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Survey Fields


Sabbi, E and Gallagher, JS and Tosi, M and Anderson, J and Nota, A and Grebel, EK and Cignoni, M and Cole, AA and Da Costa, GS and Harbeck, D and Glatt, K and Marconi, M, Star Formation History of the Small Magellanic Cloud: Six Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Survey Fields, The Astrophysical Journal, 703, (1) pp. 721-735. ISSN 0004-637X (2009) [Refereed Article]

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2009 The American Astronomical Society

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DOI: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/703/1/721


We observed six fields of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) with the Advanced Camera for Survey on board the Hubble Space Telescope in the F555W and F814W filters. These fields sample regions characterized by very different star and gas densities, and, possibly, by different evolutionary histories. We find that the SMC was already forming stars ~12 Gyr ago, even if the lack of a clear horizontal branch suggests that in the first few billion years the star formation activity was low. Within the uncertainties of our two-band photometry, we find evidence of a radial variation in chemical enrichment, with the SMC outskirts characterized by lower metallicity than the central zones. From our color-magnitude diagrams, we also infer that the SMC formed stars over a long interval of time until ~2-3 Gyr ago. After a period of modest activity, star formation increased again in the recent past, especially in the bar and the wing of the SMC, where we see an enhancement in the star-formation activity starting from ~500 Myr ago. The inhomogeneous distribution of stars younger than ~100 Myr indicates that recent star formation has mainly developed locally.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:galaxies:evolution-galaxies:individual (Small Magellanic Cloud)-galaxies:photometry-galaxies:stellar content
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Cole, AA (Professor Andrew Cole)
ID Code:58151
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2009-09-09
Last Modified:2010-03-25

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