A Novel Method to Automatically Detect and Measure the Ages of Star Clusters in Nearby Galaxies: Application to the Large Magellanic Cloud

T. Bitsakis, P. Bonfini, R. A. González-Lópezlira, V. H. Ramírez-Siordia, G. Bruzual, S. Charlot, G. Maravelias, D. Zaritsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present our new, fully automated method to detect and measure the ages of star clusters in nearby galaxies, where individual stars can be resolved. The method relies purely on statistical analysis of observations and Monte-Carlo simulations to define stellar overdensities in the data. It decontaminates the cluster color-magnitude diagrams and, using a revised version of the Bayesian isochrone fitting code of Ramírez-Siordia et al., estimates the ages of the clusters. Comparisons of our estimates with those from other surveys show the superiority of our method to extract and measure the ages of star clusters, even in the most crowded fields. An application of our method is shown for the high-resolution, multiband imaging of the Large Magellanic Cloud. We detect 4850 clusters in the 7 deg2 we surveyed, 3451 of which have not been reported before. Our findings suggest multiple epochs of star cluster formation, with the most probable occurring ∼310 Myr ago. Several of these events are consistent with the epochs of the interactions among the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and the Galaxy, as predicted by N-body numerical simulations. Finally, the spatially resolved star cluster formation history may suggest an inside-out cluster formation scenario throughout the LMC, for the past 1 Gyr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume845
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2017

Keywords

  • Magellanic Clouds
  • catalogs
  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • methods: statistical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Bitsakis, T., Bonfini, P., González-Lópezlira, R. A., Ramírez-Siordia, V. H., Bruzual, G., Charlot, S., Maravelias, G., & Zaritsky, D. (2017). A Novel Method to Automatically Detect and Measure the Ages of Star Clusters in Nearby Galaxies: Application to the Large Magellanic Cloud. Astrophysical Journal, 845(1), [56]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aa8090