Three candidate double clusters in the LMC: truth or dare?

Emanuele Dalessandro, Alice Zocchi, Anna Lisa Varri, Alessio Mucciarelli, Michele Bellazzini, Francesco R. Ferraro, Barbara Lanzoni, Emilio Lapenna, Livia Origlia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) hosts a large number of candidate stellar cluster pairs. Binary stellar clusters provide important clues about cluster formation processes and the evolutionary history of the host galaxy. However, to properly extract and interpret this information, it is crucial to fully constrain the fraction of real binary systems and their physical properties. Here we present a detailed photometric analysis based on ESO-FORS2 images of three candidate cluster multiplets in the LMC, namely SL349-SL353, SL385-SL387-NGC 1922 and NGC 1836-BRHT4b-NGC 1839. For each cluster, we derived ages, structural parameters and morphological properties. We have also estimated the degree of filling of their Roche lobe, as an approximate tool to measure the strength of the tidal perturbations induced by the LMC. We find that the members of the possible pairs SL349-SL353 and BRHT4b-NGC 1839 have a similar age (t = 1.00 ± 0.12 Gyr and t = 140 ± 15 Myr, respectively), thus possibly hinting at a common origin of their member systems. We also find that all candidate pairs in our sample show evidence of intracluster overdensities that can be a possible indication of real binarity. Particularly interesting is the case of SL349-SL353. In fact, SL353 is relatively close to the condition of critical filling, thus suggesting that these systems might actually constitute an energetically bound pair. It is therefore key to pursue a detailed kinematic screening of such clusters, without which, at present, we do not dare making a conclusive statement about the true nature of this putative pair.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2277-2288
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2017


  • techniques: photometric
  • globular clusters: general
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • galaxies: star clusters: general

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