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RE: The Large Magellanic Cloud
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The latest photo from the Hubble Space Telescope, presented at the 2006 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague this week, shows a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This sharp image reveals a large number of low-mass infant stars coexisting with young massive stars.

Magellanic
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This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of one of the hundreds of star-forming stellar systems, called stellar associations, located 180,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The LMC is the second closest known satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, orbiting it roughly every 1.5 billion years. Earlier ground-based observations of such systems had only allowed astronomers to study the bright blue giant stars in these systems, and not the low-mass stars.
This new, most detailed view to date of the star-forming association LH 95 was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and provides a extraordinarily rich sample of newly formed low-mass stars, allowing a more accurate calculation of their ages and masses. An international team of astronomers, led by Dimitrios Gouliermis of the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, is currently studying the Hubble data.

"Hubble's sharp vision has over the years dramatically changed the picture that we had for stellar associations in the Magellanic Clouds" - Dimitrios Gouliermis.

The LMC is a galaxy with relatively small amounts of elements heavier than hydrogen, giving astronomers an insight into star-formation in environments different from our Milky Way.

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-- Edited by Blobrana at 00:04, 2006-08-15

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Title: Spitzer SAGE survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud II: Evolved Stars and Infrared Colour Magnitude Diagrams
Authors: R. D. Blum, J. R. Mould, K. A. Olsen, J. A. Frogel, M. Werner, M. Meixner, F. Markwick-Kemper, R. Indebetouw, B. Whitney, M. Meade, B. Babler, E. B. Churchwell, K. Gordon, C. Engelbracht, B. -Q. For, K. Misselt, U. Vijh, C. Leitherer, K. Volk, S. Points, W. Reach, J. L. Hora, J. -P. Bernard, F. Boulanger, S. Bracker, M. Cohen, Y. Fukui, J. Gallagher, V. Gorjian, J. Harris, D. Kelly, A. Kawamura, W. B. Latter, S. Madden, A. Mizuno, N. Mizuno, A. Nota, M. S. Oey, T. Onishi, R. Paladini, N. Panagia, P. Perez-Gonzalez, H. Shibai, S. Sato, L. Smith, L. Staveley-Smith, A. G. G. M. Tielens, T. Ueta, S. Van Dyk, D. Zaritsky

Colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) are presented for the Spitzer SAGE (Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy's Evolution) survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). IRAC and MIPS 24 um epoch one data are presented. These data represent the deepest, widest mid-infrared CMDs of their kind ever produced in the LMC. Combined with the 2MASS survey, the diagrams are used to delineate the evolved stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud as well as Galactic foreground and extragalactic background populations. Some 32000 evolved stars brighter than the tip of the red giant branch are identified. Of these, approximately 17500 are classified as oxygen-rich, 7000 carbon-rich, and another 1200 as "extreme'' asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. Brighter members of the latter group have been called "obscured'' AGB stars in the literature owing to their dusty circumstellar envelopes. A large number (1200) of luminous oxygen--rich AGB stars/M supergiants are also identified. Finally, there is strong evidence from the 24 um MIPS channel that previously unexplored, lower luminosity oxygen-rich AGB stars contribute significantly to the mass loss budget of the LMC (1200 such sources are identified).

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The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC, upper right), and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
The SMC is about 210,000 light-years and the LMC about 180,000 light-years away.
At lower left, is the bright star Canopus (Alpha Carinae), which is only 310 light-years away.


Credit Chris Schur

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