The line-of-sight depth of populous clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
CROWL H.H., SARAJEDINI A., PIATTI A.E., GEISLER D., BICA E., CLARIA J.J. and SANTOS J.F.C.Jr
Abstract (from CDS):
We present an analysis of age, metal abundance, and positional data on populous clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) with the ultimate aim of determining the line-of-sight (LOS) depth of the SMC by using these clusters as proxies. Our data set contains 12 objects and is limited to clusters with the highest-quality data for which the ages and abundances are best known and can be placed on an internally consistent scale. We have analyzed the variation of the clusters' properties with position on the sky and with line-of-sight depth. Based on this analysis, we draw the following conclusions: (1) The observational data indicate that the eastern side of the SMC (facing the Large Magellanic Cloud) contains younger and more metal-rich clusters as compared with the western side. This is not a strong correlation because our data set of clusters is necessarily limited, but it is suggestive and warrants further study. (2) Depending on how the reddening is computed to our clusters, we find a mean distance modulus that ranges from (m-M)0=18.71±0.06 to 18.82±0.05. (3) The intrinsic ±1 σ LOS depth of the SMC populous clusters in our study is between ∼6 and ∼12 kpc, depending primarily on whether we adopt the Burstein & Heiles reddenings or those from Schlegel et al. (4) Viewing the SMC as a triaxial galaxy with declination, right ascension, and LOS depth as the three axes, we find axial ratios of approximately 1:2:4. Taken together, these conclusions largely agree with those of previous investigators and underscore the utility of populous star clusters as probes of the structure of the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Galaxy: Globular Clusters: General - Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds