AAS 197, January 2001
Session 79. Nearby Galaxies II
Display, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[79.18] Counting Stars Around the Large Magellanic Cloud

A. J. Reiffel (Yale), S. E. Levine (USNO Flagstaff)

In the plane of the sky, the bar and spiral arm of the Large Magellanic Cloud appear to be surrounded by a large elliptical structure. This component can be seen in optical star counts, and its center does not coincide with the center of the stellar bar. We have attempted to determine the relative amount of mass contained in this additional component, in two cases: (1) that it is an ellipsoidal halo, and (2) that it is a disk, co-planar with the bar. Because of the asymmetric placement of the halo (or disk) relative to the bar, we assume that the central gravitational potential of this structure must be very broad. By simulating stellar orbits within the LMC for several different types of potentials, we hope to show whether this structure is an inclined disk or a three-dimensional ellipsoidal halo, and to explore the question of stability of such configurations.

A. J. R. would like to thank the NSF for support through the REU program (NSF Grant No. 9988007), and USNO for hospitality.

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