Scientific Report

The Magellanic Clouds are unique in that we can study them at all scales: resolved stellar and proto-stellar populations, proto-clusters, HII regions, star-forming complexes, the super star cluster complex of 30 Doradus, and as galaxies. For this workshop, we brought together star formation modelers and observers of all kinds, to explore in concert the optical, IR, and sub-mm populations of young stellar objects and their interactions with the interstellar medium in the Magellanic Clouds. We also created new links with the Milky Way and extragalactic star-formation communities.  At the interface of these communities is the question, “What can studying Magellanic star formation tell us about star formation in the Milky Way and other galaxies?”


Many of the interesting discussions focused on the question of scale.  The validity of star formation rate indicators depends strongly on both time and spatial scale.  The Magellanic Clouds are the perfect laboratory for calibration, as we can compare star formation rates derived from various wavelengths and from individual source counts and reconstructed star formation histories. Galactic and extra-Galactic astronomers and theorists tend to use the term “star cluster” for objects of very difference physical scale, leading to confusion in understanding and citing literature across the field.  In comparing diverse studies, we must keep in mind consider what scales are being discussed and to what extend physical conclusions are scale dependent.  Source multiplicity at the distance of the Magellanic Clouds was another hot topic.  Very often, multiple stellar or proto-stellar sources blend together, sometimes as a line-of-sight effect and sometimes as genuine stellar/proto-stellar clusters.  This confuses our modeling and mass estimates of “individual” sources.  Several people from the workshop are working on this issue and what it means for our understanding do star formation and our ability to compare star formation studies in the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, and beyond.  We also had talks and discussion of moving forward on these questions with current and future facilities such as SOFIA and JWST.


Participants were overwhelmingly pleased with the format of the workshop.  Allowing ample time for independent discussion, in combination with the office facilities at the Lorentz Center, meant that people could get real collaborative work done.  Starting talks later in the morning let people have informal talks over breakfast or come in for some quiet working time in the morning.  We kept presentations to a minimum, focusing instead on plenary discussions and time for collaboration.  With the deadline for Hubble Space Telescope observing proposals the following week, many participants took advantage of the opportunity and inspiration to work together on proposals, at least two of which were awarded observing time and funding.


Lynn Redding Carlson (Leiden, the Netherlands)

John S. Gallagher III (Madison, USA)

Elizabeth Lada (Gainesville, USA)
Margaret Meixner (Baltimore, USA)
Antonella Nota (Baltimore, USA)
Alexander Tielens (Leiden, The Netherlands)