Star cluster evolution in the Magellanic Clouds revisited

Richard de Grijs, Simon P. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The evolution of star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds has been the subject of significant recent controversy, particularly regarding the importance and length of the earliest, largely mass-independent disruption phase (referred to as "infant mortality"). Here, we take a fresh approach to the problem, using a large, independent, and homogeneous data set of UBVR imaging observations, from which we obtain the cluster age and mass distributions in both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC, SMC) in a self-consistent manner. We conclude that the (optically selected) SMC star cluster population has undergone at most ∼ 30% (1σ) infant mortality between the age range from about 3 - 10 Myr, to that of approximately 40-160 Myr. We rule out a 90% cluster mortality rate per decade of age (for the full age range up to 10 yr) at a > 6σ level. Using a simple approach, we derive a "characteristic" cluster disruption time-scale for the cluster population in the LMC that implies that we are observing the initial cluster mass function (CMF). Preliminary results suggest that the LMC cluster population may be affected by < 10% infant mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS256
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Astronomical Union Symposium (256th : 2008) - Keele, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jul 20081 Aug 2008


  • globular clusters: general
  • open clusters and associations: general
  • galaxies: evolution
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • galaxies: star clusters


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