Schedule Jan 13, 2009
The Formation and Destruction of Star Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds
Rupali Chandar (Univ. Toledo)

As two of the nearest, late-type galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are an important testing ground for understanding the formation and evolution of star clusters. Both the LMC and the SMC have formed massive star clusters with ages from a few million years to older than 10 billion years. We present new results for the age and mass distributions of star clusters younger than ~a billion years in the Magellanic Clouds. Despite the many conflicting reports that have appeared recently in the published literature, we find that our results, particularly for the LMC, are in surprisingly good agreement with most previous works. The mass function found for young star clusters in the LMC is compared directly with that for progenitor molecular clouds, one of the few galaxies where this is currently possible. We also examine the properties of ancient globular clusters in the LMC. These results lead to a new picture for the lifecycle of star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds. There is both direct and indirect evidence suggestsing that this lifecycle picture is at least approximately true for cluster systems in other nearby galaxies as well.

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