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Article
Structure of the Large Magellanic Cloud from 2MASS
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL
  • MD Weinberg
  • S Nikolaev
Publication Date
2001
Abstract

We derive structural parameters and evidence for extended tidal debris from star count and preliminary standard candle analyses of the Large Magellanic Cloud based on Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) data. The full-sky coverage and low extinction in Ks present an ideal sample for structural analysis of the LMC. The star count surface densities and deprojected inclination for both young and older populations are generally consistent with previous work. We fit the projected density with an exponential disk or spherical power-law model with an optional two-dimensional elliptical bar. The derived disk scale length is R = 1.42 ± 0.01 kpc for models without the bar and R = 2.15 ± 0.01 kpc for models with the bar included. The median value for the bar axis ratio is q = 3.4 for intermediate and old LMC populations and q = 4.1 for young populations. The radial profile shows evidence for disk truncation near 3 kpc. We use the full areal coverage and large "LMC diameter"/"Galactocentric" distance ratio to infer the disk inclination based on perspective. The values for inclination derived from different populations range from 22° to 29°, with the variance weighted average i = 24fdg0 ± 0fdg3. The inclinations derived from models including the bar result in a larger estimate, i = 38fdg2 ± 0fdg4. A standard candle analysis based on a sample of carbon long-period variables (LPV) in a narrow color range, 1.6 < J-Ks < 1.7, allows us to probe the three-dimensional structure of the LMC along the line of sight. The intrinsic brightness distribution of carbon LPVs in selected fields implies that σM lesssim 0.2 mag for this color cut. The sample provides a direct determination of the LMC disk inclination: 42fdg3 ± 7fdg2. Distinct features in the photometric distribution suggest several distinct populations. We interpret this as the possible presence of an extended stellar component of the LMC, which may be as thick as 8 kpc, and intervening tidal debris at roughly 14 kpc from the LMC. Alternatively, these features may be intrinsic to asymptotic giant branch evolution and motivate additional theoretical modeling.

Comments
This is a pre-published version which is collected from arXiv link. The published version is at http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/548/2/712?fromSearchPage=true
Pages
712-726
Citation Information
MD Weinberg and S Nikolaev. "Structure of the Large Magellanic Cloud from 2MASS" ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL Vol. 548 Iss. 2 (2001)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/martin_weinberg/82/