Nicolas F. Martin, Valentin Jungbluth, David L. Nidever, Eric F. Bell, Gurtina Besla, Robert D. Blum, Maria Rosa L. Cioni, Blair C. Conn, Catherine C. Kaleida, Carme Gallart, Shoko Jin, Steven R. Majewski, David Martinez-Delgado, Antonela Monachesi, Ricardo R. Muñoz, Noelia E.D. Noël, Knut Olsen, Guy S. Stringfellow, Roeland P. Van Der Marel, A. Katherina VivasAlistair R. Walker, Dennis Zaritsky

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13 Scopus citations


We present the discovery of a very faint stellar system, SMASH 1, that is potentially a satellite of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Found within the Survey of the Magellanic Stellar History (SMASH), SMASH 1 is a compact (rh=9.1-3.4 +5.9pc) and very low luminosity (Mv=-1.0±0.9,Lv=102.3±0.4L ) stellar system that is revealed by its sparsely populated main sequence and a handful of red giant branch candidate member stars. The photometric properties of these stars are compatible with a metal-poor ([Fe/H]=-2.2) and old (13 Gyr) isochrone located at a distance modulus of ∼18.8, i.e., a distance of . Situated at 11.°3 from the LMC in projection, its three-dimensional distance from the Cloud is 13 kpc, consistent with a connection to the LMC, whose tidal radius is at least . Although the nature of SMASH 1 remains uncertain, its compactness favors it being a stellar cluster and hence dark-matter free. If this is the case, its dynamical tidal radius is only ≲19 pc at this distance from the LMC, and smaller than the system's extent on the sky. Its low luminosity and apparent high ellipticity (ϵ=0.62-0.21 +0.17) with its major axis pointing toward the LMC may well be the tell-tale sign of its imminent tidal demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2016


  • Local Group
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • globular clusters: individual: (SMASH 1)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Martin, N. F., Jungbluth, V., Nidever, D. L., Bell, E. F., Besla, G., Blum, R. D., Cioni, M. R. L., Conn, B. C., Kaleida, C. C., Gallart, C., Jin, S., Majewski, S. R., Martinez-Delgado, D., Monachesi, A., Muñoz, R. R., Noël, N. E. D., Olsen, K., Stringfellow, G. S., Van Der Marel, R. P., ... Zaritsky, D. (2016). SMASH 1: A VERY FAINT GLOBULAR CLUSTER DISRUPTING in the OUTER REACHES of the LMC? Astrophysical Journal Letters, 830(1), [L10].