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Session 77 - Irregular and Star Burst Galaxies.
Oral session, Thursday, June 11

[77.02] The Formation and Evolution of the LMC

K. A. Olsen (U. Washington)

We present deep HST color-magnitude diagrams of fields centered on the six old LMC globular clusters NGC 1754, NGC 1835, NGC 1898, NGC 1916, NGC 2005, and NGC 2019. Separate cluster and field star CMDs are shown. The time of formation of the LMC is studied from an analysis of the cluster CMDs. Based on a comparison of the CMDs with sequences of the Milky Way clusters M3, M5, and M55, we suggest that the LMC formed its first stars at the same time as the Milky Way to within 1 Gyr. We derive abundances and reddenings of the clusters that agree roughly with published values. Adopting our measured abundances, we find additional evidence that these LMC globular clusters are as old as the oldest Milky Way clusters through a comparison of our data with the horizontal branch evolutionary models of Lee, Demarque, amp; Zinn (1994). The evolution of the LMC following its formation is studied through an analysis of the field star CMDs. Through an automated comparison with stellar evolution models, we extract the star formation histories implied by the CMDs and luminosity functions. We explore the effects of varying the reddening, distance modulus, and IMF of the field stars on the derived star formation histories. We discuss the evidence for different star formation histories among the six fields.

Program listing for Thursday