The LMC geometry and outer stellar populations from early DES data

Eduardo Balbinot, B. X. Santiago, L. Girardi, A. Pieres, L. N. Da Costa, M. A.G. Maia, R. A. Gruendl, A. R. Walker, B. Yanny, A. Drlica-Wagner, A. Benoit-Levy, T. M.C. Abbott, S. S. Allam, J. Annis, J. P. Bernstein, R. A. Bernstein, E. Bertin, D. Brooks, E. Buckley-Geer, A. Carnero RosellC. E. Cunha, D. L. DePoy, S. Desai, H. T. Diehl, P. Doel, J. Estrada, A. E. Evrard, A. Fausti Neto, D. A. Finley, B. Flaugher, J. A. Frieman, D. Gruen, K. Honscheid, D. James, K. Kuehn, N. Kuropatkin, O. Lahav, M. March, J. L. Marshall, C. Miller, R. Miquel, R. Ogando, J. Peoples, A. Plazas, V. Scarpine, M. Schubnell, I. Sevilla-Noarbe, R. C. Smith, M. Soares-Santos, E. Suchyta, M. E.C. Swanson, G. Tarle, D. L. Tucker, R. Wechsler, J. Zuntz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dark Energy Camera has captured a large set of images as part of Science Verification (SV) for the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The SV footprint covers a large portion of the outer LargeMagellanic Cloud (LMC), providing photometry 1.5 mag fainter than the main sequence turn-off of the oldest LMC stellar population. We derive geometrical and structural parameters for various stellar populations in the LMC disc. For the distribution of all LMC stars, we find an inclination of i = -38.°14 ± 0.°08 (near side in the north) and a position angle for the line of nodes of θ0 = 129.°51 ± 0.°17. We find that stars younger than ~4 Gyr are more centrally concentrated than older stars. Fitting a projected exponential disc shows that the scale radius of the old populations is R>4 Gyr = 1.41 ± 0.01 kpc, while the younger population has R<4 Gyr = 0.72 ± 0.01 kpc. However, the spatial distribution of the younger population deviates significantly from the projected exponential disc model. The distribution of old stars suggests a large truncation radius of Rt = 13.5 ± 0.8 kpc. If this truncation is dominated by the tidal field of the Galaxy, we find that the LMC is ≃24+9 -6 times less massive than the encircled Galactic mass. By measuring the Red Clump peak magnitude and comparing with the best-fitting LMC disc model, we find that the LMC disc is warped and thicker in the outer regions north of the LMC centre. Our findings may either be interpreted as a warped and flared disc in the LMC outskirts, or as evidence of a spheroidal halo component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1145
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 23 2015


  • Galaxies: stellar content
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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