Stellar Cartography: Mapping the Magellanic Clouds with Variable Stars
Victoria Scowcroft
Carnegie Institution for Science, University of Bath
Barry Madore (Carnegie), Wendy Freedman (University of Chicago), Mark Seibert (Carnegie), Rachael Beaton (Carnegie), Andy Monson (Penn State), Jeff Rich (Carnegie), Jane Rigby (NASA Goddard)
As our nearest neighbours, the Magellanic Clouds are an important laboratory for studying galaxy structure and evolution at high resolution. Using mid--infrared Spitzer observations of Cepheids and RR Lyrae, we are producing the most advanced map of the clouds to date, with distances to each star better than 4%. Using the newly discovered metallicity--mid--IR colour relation for Cepheids, we can also map the chemical structure of the galaxies at high fidelity. I will present the current status of this project, and discuss how it will be improved with the forthcoming Gaia release in summer 2016.