Journal Article

Giant stellar arcs in the Large Magellanic Cloud: a possible link with past activity of the Milky Way nucleus

Yuri N. Efremov

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 429, issue 1, pages L75-L78
Published in print February 2013 |
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1745-3933 | DOI:

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The origin of the giant stellar arcs in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) remains a controversial issue, one that has been discussed since 1966. No other star/cluster arc is so perfect a segment of a circle; moreover, there is another similar arc nearby. Many hypotheses were advanced to explain these arcs and all but one of these was disproved. It was proposed in 2004 that the origin of these arcs was a bow shock from the jet that is intermittently fired by the Milky Way nucleus; during its last episode of activity the jet was pointed toward the LMC. Quite recently, evidence for such a jet indeed appeared. We suggest that it was once energetic enough to trigger star formation in the LMC, and if the jet opening angle was about 2° then it could push out H i gas from a region of about 2 kpc in size, forming a cavity LMC4, but also squeeze two dense clouds that occurred in the same area, causing the formation of stars along their surfaces facing the core of the Milky Way. As a result, spherical segments of stellar shells might arise, visible now as the arcs named the Quadrant and Sextant, the apexes of which point towards the centre of the Milky Way. The orientation of both arcs could be the key to unlocking their origin. Here we give data that confirm the above hypothesis, amongst which are the radial velocities of stars inside and outside the larger of the LMC arcs. The probability is low that a jet from an active galactic nucleus (AGN) points towards a nearby galaxy and triggers star formation there, but a few other examples are now known or suspected.

Keywords: Galaxy: centre; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: jets; Magellanic Clouds

Journal Article.  2637 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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