Herschel key program HERITAGE: A far-infrared source catalog for the Magellanic Clouds

Jonathan P. Seale*, Margaret Meixner, Marta Sewiło, Brian Babler, Charles W. Engelbracht, Karl Gordon, Sacha Hony, Karl Misselt, Edward Montiel, Koryo Okumura, Pasquale Panuzzo, Julia Roman-Duval, Marc Sauvage, Martha L. Boyer, C. H Rosie Chen, Remy Indebetouw, Mikako Matsuura, Joana M. Oliveira, Sundar Srinivasan, Jacco T H Van LoonBarbara Whitney, Paul M. Woods

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Observations from the HERschel Inventory of the Agents of Galaxy Evolution (HERITAGE ) have been used to identify dusty populations of sources in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). We conducted the study using the HERITAGE catalogs of point sources available from the Herschel Science Center from both the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS; 100 and 160 μm) and Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE; 250, 350, and 500 μm) cameras. These catalogs are matched to each other to create a Herschel band-merged catalog and then further matched to archival Spitzer IRAC and MIPS catalogs from the Spitzer Surveying the Agents of Galaxy Evolution (SAGE) and SAGE-SMC surveys to create single mid- to far-infrared (far-IR) point source catalogs that span the wavelength range from 3.6 to 500 μm. There are 35,322 unique sources in the LMC and 7503 in the SMC. To be bright in the FIR, a source must be very dusty, and so the sources in the HERITAGE catalogs represent the dustiest populations of sources. The brightest HERITAGE sources are dominated by young stellar objects (YSOs), and the dimmest by background galaxies. We identify the sources most likely to be background galaxies by first considering their morphology (distant galaxies are point-like at the resolution of Herschel) and then comparing the flux distribution to that of the Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey (ATLAS ) survey of galaxies. We find a total of 9745 background galaxy candidates in the LMC HERITAGE images and 5111 in the SMC images, in agreement with the number predicted by extrapolating from the ATLAS flux distribution. The majority of the Magellanic Cloud-residing sources are either very young, embedded forming stars or dusty clumps of the interstellar medium. Using the presence of 24 μm emission as a tracer of star formation, we identify 3518 YSO candidates in the LMC and 663 in the SMC. There are far fewer far-IR bright YSOs in the SMC than the LMC due to both the SMC's smaller size and its lower dust content. The YSO candidate lists may be contaminated at low flux levels by background galaxies, and so we differentiate between sources with a high ("probable") and moderate ("possible ") likelihood of being a YSO. There are 2493/425 probable YSO candidates in the LMC/SMC. Approximately 73% of the Herschel YSO candidates are newly identified in the LMC, and 35% in the SMC. We further identify a small population of dusty objects in the late stages of stellar evolution including extreme and post-asymptotic giant branch, planetary nebulae, and supernova remnants. These populations are identified by matching the HERITAGE catalogs to lists of previously identified objects in the literature. Approximately half of the LMC sources and one quarter of the SMC sources are too faint to obtain accurate ample FIR photometry and are unclassified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Galaxies: Dwarf
  • Infrared: Stars
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: Formation
  • Stars: Pre-main sequence

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