D Nidever Poster

Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History – SMASH
D. Nidever (University of Michigan), K. Olsen, R. Blum, and the SMASH team

Over the last several years, various discoveries have drastically altered our view of the iconic Magellanic Clouds (MCs), the nearest interacting galaxy system. The best evidence is now that they are on first infall into the Milky Way, that their stellar populations extend much further than previously thought, and that they suffered a close collision that tore out both the well-known Magellanic Stream and a large amount of still undetected stellar debris. SMASH is a community DECam survey of the Clouds mapping 480 deg2 (distributed over 2400 deg2 at 20% filling factor) to 24th mag griz (and u23) that will supplement the 5000 deg2 Dark Energy Survey’s partial coverage of the Magellanic periphery, allowing us to map the expected stellar debris and extended populations with unprecedented fidelity. We have already conducted a pilot project demonstrating that DECam will allow us to: (1) Map the stellar periphery of the MCs with old main-sequence turnoff stars to a surface brightness limit of 35 mag/arcsec2, revealing relics of their formation and past interactions. (2) Identify the stellar component of the Magellanic Stream and Leading Arm for the first time, if they exist, making them the only Galactic halo tracers with both gaseous and stellar components. (3) Derive spatially-resolved star formation histories covering all ages out to large radii of the MCs that will further complement our understanding of their formation. The combination of this survey and DES data will allow us to uncover a multitude of stellar structure that will unveil the complex and dramatic history of these two dwarf galaxies, while enabling abroad spectrum of community-led projects.