A suite of high-resolution N-body simulations of the Magellanic Clouds-Milky Way system are presented and compared directly with newly available data from the HI Parkes All-Sky Survey (HIPASS). We show that the interaction between Small Magellanic Clouds (SMC) and Large Magellanic Clouds results in both a spatial and kinematical bifurcation of both the stream and the leading arm. The spatial bifurcation of the stream is readily apparent in the HIPASS data, and the kinematical bifurcation is also tentatively identified. This bifurcation provides strong support for the tidal disruption origin for the Magellanic stream. A fiducial model for the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) is presented upon completion of an extensive parameter survey of the potential orbital configurations of the MCs and the viable initial boundary conditions for the disc of the SMC. The impact of the choice of these critical parameters upon the final configurations of the stream and leading arm is detailed.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 2006
- methods: N-body simulations;
- galaxies: interactions;
- Magellanic Clouds;
- Accepted by MNRAS, 07 Jun 2006. 14 pages, 14 figures, 3 tables. LaTeX (mn2e.sty). File with decent resolution images (strongly recommended) available at http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~tconnors/publications/ . References added