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R. C. Smith, S. D. Points (NOAO/CTIO), Y.-H. Chu (U. of Illinois), P. F. Winkler (Middlebury College), C. Aguilera, R. Leiton (NOAO/CTIO), MCELS Team
Many of the dynamic and complex interactions of the interstellar medium are mapped out in the ionized gas structures of wind blown bubbles, HII regions, planetary nebulae (PNe), supernova remnants (SNRs), superbubbles, and gigantic supershells. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are the ideal laboratories in which to study the ISM and both the morphological and physical characteristics of the ionized gas components.
We have completed the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey, an optical emission line survey of these two nearby galaxies which, together with parallel surveys at other wavelengths, provides the foundation upon which to build a deeper understanding of the ISM in the Clouds (and other galaxies), from small scales (~1 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 2Kx2K CCD, we have obtained Halpha, [S II], and [O III] images of the central 8x8 degrees of the Large Magellanic Cloud and of the central 3.5x4.5 degrees of the Small Magellanic Cloud, covering most of the gaseous extent of both Clouds.
We will discuss the scientific objectives of the survey, describe the survey parameters and strategies, and review some of the scientific results from the survey. The survey is providing new samples of SNRs, wind-blown bubbles, and PNe, as well as detailed and calibrated emission-line observations of HII regions, superbubbles, and supergiant shells. Furthermore, we will describe the preliminary release of portions of the digital emission line dataset to the astronomical community, and our plans for the upcoming full data release. These data provide 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.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.