Dynamical influences of the last magellanic interaction on the magellanic clouds

Kenji Bekki, Masashi Chiba

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45 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the present distributions of gas and young stars in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC) based on fully self-consistent numerical simulations of the Clouds for the last 0.8 Gyr. Our principal results, which can be tested against observations, are as follows. The last dynamical and hydrodynamical interaction between the Clouds about 0.2 Gyr ago can form the apparently off-center bar and peculiar Hi spirals of the LMC. The present spatial distributions of young stars with ages less than 20 Myr in the LMC can be significantly asymmetric and clumpy owing to the interaction. A small but non-negligible fraction of stellar and gaseous components can be transferred from the SMC into the LMC during the interaction to form diffuse halo components around the LMC. The burst of star formation in the SMC can be synchronized with that of the LMC about 0.2 Gyr ago in some models. New stars can form from gas in the SMC's tidal tails, one of which can be observed as the Magellanic Bridge (MB). The metallicity distribution function of new stars in the MB has a peak of [Fe/H] 0.8, which is significantly smaller than the stellar metallicity of the SMC. Based on these results, we discuss the origin of 30 Doradus, the southern molecular ridge of the LMC, the globular cluster ESO 121-SC03, metal-poor inter-Cloud stars within the MB, and giant Hi holes of the LMC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • Galaxies: stellar content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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