THREE-DIMENSIONAL MAPS OF THE MAGELLANIC CLOUDS USING RR LYRAE STARS AND CEPHEIDS. I. THE LARGE MAGELLANIC CLOUD

Raoul Haschke, Eva K. Grebel, Sonia Duffau
2012 Astronomical Journal  
The new data for Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE-III) survey allow us to study the three-dimensional distribution of stars corresponding to young (a few tens to a few hundreds of millions of years) and old (typically older than 9 Gyr) populations of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) traced by these variable stars. We estimate the distance to 16949 RR Lyrae stars by using their photometrically estimated metallicities. Furthermore the periods of
more » ... 9 Cepheids are used to determine their distances. Three-dimensional maps are obtained by using individual reddening estimates derived from the intrinsic color of these stars. The resulting median distances of the RR Lyrae stars and Cepheids appear to resolve the long and short distance scale problem for our sample. With median distances of 53.1 ± 3.2 kpc for the RR Lyrae stars and 53.9 ± 1.8 kpc for the Cepheids, these two distance indicators are in very good agreement with each other in contrast to a number of earlier studies. Individual reddening estimates allow us to resolve the distance discrepancies often observed while comparing Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars. For both stellar populations we find the inclination angle of the LMC to be 32± 4 and the mean position angle to be 115± 15. The position angle increases with galactocentric radius, indicative of mild twisting. Within the innermost 7 degrees of the LMC covered by OGLE III the change in position angle amounts to more than 10 degrees. The depth of the Cepheids is found to be 1.7 ± 0.2 kpc. The bar stands out as an overdensity both in RR Lyrae stars and in Cepheids. In RR Lyrae stars the bar can be traced as a protruding overdensity with a line-of-sight depth of almost 5 kpc in front of the main body of the disk.
doi:10.1088/0004-6256/144/4/106 fatcat:sjm5bzxdnrgrfero3xk2txsfgm