Star Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds-1: Parameterisation and Classification of 1072 Clusters in the LMC
We have introduced a semi-automated quantitative method to estimate the age and reddening of 1072 star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) III survey data. This study brings out 308 newly parameterised clusters. In a first of its kind, the LMC clusters are classified into groups based on richness/mass as very poor, poor, moderate and rich clusters, similar to the classification scheme of open clusters in the Galaxy. A major cluster formation episode is found to happen at 125 +- 25 Myr in the inner LMC. The bar region of the LMC appears prominently in the age range 60 - 250 Myr and is found to have a relatively higher concentration of poor and moderate clusters. The eastern and the western ends of the bar are found to form clusters initially, which later propagates to the central part. We demonstrate that there is a significant difference in the distribution of clusters as a function of mass, using a movie based on the propagation (in space and time) of cluster formation in various groups. The importance of including the low mass clusters in the cluster formation history is demonstrated. The catalog with parameters, classification, and cleaned and isochrone fitted CMDs of 1072 clusters, which are available as online material, can be further used to understand the hierarchical formation of clusters in selected regions of the LMC.