MAGMA: The Magellanic Mopra Assessment

Welcome to the home page of MAGMA!
This web site is mirrored between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science.

MAGMA CO intensity (green) overlaid on ATCA HI intensity image (red) and MCELS Hα image (blue).

About the Project

MAGMA is a CO mapping survey of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds using the 22-m Mopra Telescope of the Australia Telescope National Facility.  Observations commenced in 2005 and were completed in 2010.  Data release began in September 2011 (see details below).

The Magellanic Clouds are our nearest neighbor galaxies, both satellites of our Milky Way.   They also exhibit a high rate of star formation (see these images from MCELS), so they must have dense molecular clouds.   In particular, the Large Magellanic Cloud has been the subject of three previous mapping surveys in the CO line.   The first was the survey by Cohen et al. (1988) with the Columbia 1.2m telescope (see image here).   The second and third surveys were conducted by the NANTEN 4m telescope and reported by Fukui et al. (1999) and Fukui et al. (2008) (see image here).   The MAGMA LMC survey is a follow-up to the NANTEN survey, specifically targeting the 114 brightest clouds detected by NANTEN for mapping at resolutions of 1 arcminute (15 pc) or better.   Over most of the mapped region, both the CO and 13CO lines have been observed.

History and Methodology

MAGMA was made possible by the development of “on-the-fly” (OTF) mapping at Mopra in 2003-4.   This effort was spearheaded by Tony Wong and Ned Ladd with substantial contributions from Michael Kesteven, Warwick Wilson, and Mark Calabretta (all at ATNF).  OTF mapping allows for large regions with bright emission to be mapped much faster than with traditional “point and shoot” techniques.  Weak emission can be mapped using repeated coverages, although then the improvement in observing efficiency is not as pronounced.

Significant OTF mapping projects began at Mopra in 2004, with the mapping of the RCW 106 Galactic molecular cloud complex by the UNSW team (Delta Quadrant Survey).  Jürgen Ott initiated what would become the first MAGMA observations, with the MX002 project (LMC molecular ridge) in 2005 May.  A major boost to the project was provided by the receiver and correlator upgrades in 2005, especially the development of the MOPS spectrometer.  By late 2005, the core team of Ott, Wong, Hughes, Muller, and Pineda were actively involved in CO mapping of various bright clouds in the LMC and SMC.   The decision to map a complete, flux-limited sample of NANTEN clouds in the LMC was not made until late 2007, and most observations had been concluded by 2009 October.

Scientific Goals

Data Releases

The First Data Release (15 September 2011) provides the CO data and analysis for the LMC as described in Wong et al. (2011) (ADS; full resolution PDF available below).

The Second Data Release (4 May 2012) improved the spectral baseline and switched to a heliocentric velocity frame.


Main data paper:

MAGMA Publications (ADS link)

Observation Logs 2005-2010 (from Foswiki)

Team Web Site (registration required)

Core MAGMA team Other MAGMA Team Members
Last update by Tony Wong on 21 May 2014