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Astronomy Seminar Series artwork
November 2, 202011:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

Deciphering the Kinematic Structure of the Small Magellanic Cloud in the Age of HST and Gaia


Paul Zivick (Texas A&M University)

Event Details

Our picture of the Magellanic Clouds has undergone continuous evolution over the last few decades as we have entered into a new era of astrometry. Nearly 15 years ago, Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of the Clouds revealed they were likely on their first infall into the Milky Way, upending conventional wisdom surrounding them. Since then, with the continued advancement of HST astrometry and the launch of the Gaia Space Telescope, information about the Clouds has rapidly expanded along with our understanding of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). However, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) has proven more difficult to precisely disentangle, given its unusual shape, structure, and close proximity to the LMC. Here I will present an overview of the efforts to characterize SMC kinematics, beginning with HST observations and continuing into the second data release from Gaia, before concluding with a new model capable of capturing the unique proper motion structure observed in the SMC and outlining future avenues for kinematic studies in the Clouds.

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