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Star Formation History of the Disk of the Large Magellanic Cloud

  • J. S. Gallagher (a1), Andrew A. Cole (a1), J. Holtzman (a2) and T. Smecker-Hane (a3)

Abstract

New optical observations of field stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud from the ground and with the Hubble Space Telescope provide the basis for investigations of the history of field star formation in our nearest galactic neighbor. Results from WFPC2 photometry of field stars indicate that the stellar initial mass function for stars around 1 M is similar to that in the solar neighborhood. Long-term variations occurred in the average SFR with enhanced activity in the past 2–4 Gyr, a fallow period about 2–10 Gyr in the past, and an initial phase of astration ~12 Gyr ago. The recent increase in field star formation is less than that for the birth of compact star clusters; the cluster formation rate does not give a complete evolutionary picture.

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References

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