SCYON Abstract

Received on August 16 2013

No compelling evidence of significant early star cluster disruption in the Large Magellanic Cloud

AuthorsRichard de Grijs (1,2), Simon P. Goodwin (3), and Peter Anders (1,4)
Affiliation(1) Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian District, Beijing 100871, China
(2) Department of Astronomy, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian District, Beijing 100871, China
(3) Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
(4) Key Laboratory for Optical Astronomy, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100012, China
Accepted byMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


Whether or not the rich star cluster population in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is affected by significant disruption during the first few times 108 yr of its evolution is an open question and the subject of significant current debate. Here, we revisit the problem, adopting a homogeneous data set of broad-band imaging observations. We base our analysis mainly on two sets of self-consistently determined LMC cluster ages and masses, one using standard modelling and one which takes into account the effects of stochasticity in the clusters' stellar mass functions. On their own, the results based on any of the three complementary analysis approaches applied here are merely indicative of the physical conditions governing the cluster population. However, the combination of our results from all three different diagnostics leaves little room for any conclusion other than that the optically selected LMC star cluster population exhibits no compelling evidence of significant disruption -- for clusters with masses, Mcl, of Mcl/M(sun)) >~ 3.0--3.5 -- between the age ranges of [3--10] Myr and [30--100] Myr, either ''infant mortality'' or otherwise. In fact, there is no evidence of any destruction beyond that expected from simple models just including stellar dynamics and stellar evolution for ages up to 1 Gyr. It seems, therefore, that the difference in environmental conditions in the Magellanic Clouds on the one hand and significantly more massive galaxies on the other may be the key to understanding the apparent variations in cluster disruption behaviour at early times.