The MACHO Project LMC Variable Star Inventory. VIII. The Recent Star Formation History of the Large Magellanic Cloud from the Cepheid Period Distribution Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We present an analysis of the period distribution of $\sim 1800$ Cepheids in the Large Magellanic Cloud, based on data obtained by the MACHO microlensing experiment and on a previous catalogue by Payne-Gaposchkin. Using stellar evolution and pulsation models, we construct theoretical period-frequency distributions that are compared to the observations. These models reveal that a significant burst of star formation has occurred recently in the LMC ($\sim 1.15\times 10^8$ years). We also show that during the last $\sim 10^8$ years, the main center of star formation has been propagating from SE to NW along the bar. We find that the evolutionary masses of Cepheids are still smaller than pulsation masses by $\sim 7$ % and that the red edge of the Cepheid instability strip could be slightly bluer than indicated by theory. There are $\sim 600$ Cepheids with periods below $\sim 2.5$ days cannot be explained by evolution theory. We suggest that they are anomalous Cepheids; a number of these stars are double-mode Cepheids.

authors

  • Alcock, C
  • Allsman, RA
  • Alves, DR
  • Axelrod, TS
  • Becker, AC
  • Bennett, DP
  • Bersier, DF
  • Cook, KH
  • Freeman, KC
  • Griest, K
  • Guern, JA
  • Lehner, M
  • Marshall, SL
  • Minniti, D
  • Peterson, BA
  • Pratt, MR
  • Quinn, PJ
  • Rodgers, AW
  • Stubbs, CW
  • Sutherland, W
  • Tomaney, A
  • Vandehei, T
  • Welch, Douglas L

publication date

  • February 1999