Ripepi, V and Cioni, M-RL and Moretti, MI and Marconi, M and Bekki, K and Clementini, G and de Grijs, R and Emerson, J and Groenewegen, MAT and Ivanov, VD and Molinaro, R and Muraveva, T and Oliveira, JM and Piatti, AE and Subramanian, S and van Loon, JT (2017) The VMC survey – XXV. The 3D structure of the Small Magellanic Cloud from Classical Cepheids. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 472 (1). 808 -827. ISSN 1365-2966

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Abstract

The VISTA near-infrared YJKs survey of the Magellanic System (VMC) is collecting deep Ks-band time-series photometry of pulsating stars hosted by the two Magellanic Clouds and their connecting bridge. Here, we present Y, J, Ks light curves for a sample of 717 Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) Classical Cepheids (CCs). These data, complemented with our previous results and V magnitude from literature, allowed us to construct a variety of period–luminosity and period–Wesenheit relationships, valid for Fundamental, First and Second Overtone pulsators. These relations provide accurate individual distances to CCs in the SMC over an area of more than 40 deg2. Adopting literature relations, we estimated ages and metallicities for the majority of the investigated pulsators, finding that (i) the age distribution is bimodal, with two peaks at 120 ± 10 and 220 ± 10 Myr; (i) the more metal-rich CCs appear to be located closer to the centre of the galaxy. Our results show that the three-dimensional distribution of the CCs in the SMC is not planar but heavily elongated for more than 25–30 kpc approximately in the east/north-east towards south-west direction. The young and old CCs in the SMC show a different geometric distribution. Our data support the current theoretical scenario predicting a close encounter or a direct collision between the Clouds some 200 Myr ago and confirm the presence of a Counter-Bridge predicted by some models. The high-precision three-dimensional distribution of young stars presented in this paper provides a new test bed for future models exploring the formation and evolution of the Magellanic System.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: stars, oscillations, variables, Cepheids,,variables, RR Lyrae, Magellanic Clouds, galaxies, structure
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB460 Astrophysics
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 11:05
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 15:31
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4018

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