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Session 51 - New Views of the Magellanic Clouds - I.
Oral session, Wednesday, June 12
\newcommand\haH\alpha \newcommand\hiiH \sc ii \newcommand\nii[N \sc ii] \newcommand\sii[S \sc ii] \newcommandøiii[O \sc iii]
The interstellar medium (ISM) is no longer thought to be a quiescent distribution of gas, but rather a dynamic and complex interaction of the ambient gas and dust with stellar winds, \hii\ regions, planetary nebulae (PNe), supernovae (SNe), supernova remnants (SNRs), superbubbles, and gigantic supershells. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Magellanic Clouds. Their relative proximity and low extinction make them the ideal laboratories in which to study the ISM, its constituents, its energetics, and its interaction with the underlying stellar populations.
We have begun an optical emission-line survey of these two nearby galaxies which, together with parallel surveys at other wavelengths, will provide the foundation upon which to build a deeper understanding of the ISM in the Clouds (and other galaxies), from small scales (\sim1 pc) to global scales. Taking advantage of the wide field of view of the UM/CTIO Curtis Schmidt telescope coupled to the sensitivity and large area of the newly available STIS 2K CCD, we will obtain \ha, \sii, and øiii\ images of the central 8^\circ \times 8^\circ of the Large Magellanic Cloud and of the central 3.5^\circ \times 4.5^\circ of the Small Magellanic Cloud, covering most of the gaseous extent of both Clouds. Survey observations began in November 1995, and we completed almost 30% of the imaging in the 1995-96 Cloud season.
The survey will provide definitive samples of wind-blown bubbles, PNe, and SNRs, as well as detailed and calibrated emission-line observations of HII regions, superbubbles, and supergiant shells. We will discuss the scientific objectives of the survey, describe the survey parameters and strategies, and present some of the first images from the survey. Furthermore, we will describe the plans for making the digital Emission-line Atlas of the Magellanic Clouds publically available, providing a rich, homogeneous dataset to serve as the groundwork for further investigations into all aspects of the ISM, well beyond the scope of our own work.
Program listing for Wednesday