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The STEP project

STEP (Small Magellanic Cloud in Time: Evolution of a Prototype interacting late-type dwarf galaxy) is a Guaranteed Time Observation survey carried out with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) placed at the Paranal site of the European Southern Observatory. STEP has obtained homogeneous photometry in the g-, r-, i- and Hα-bands over an area of 53 square degrees covering the main body of the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Bridge that connects it to the Large Magellanic Cloud. Our photometry allows us to detect and measure the magnitudes of individual stars well below the main sequence turnoff of the oldest populations. In particular, our photometry reaches  g~24, i~23.5, r~23 with S/N~10.

The main goals we aim to achieve with the proposed observations are: 1) systematic exploration of the stellar populations of the Bridge; 2) SFH of the whole SMC body; 3) investigation of the young component of SMC and Bridge.

The VST telescope is a 2.6-m optical telescope equipped with the OmegaCAM instrument a large array of 16 infrared detectors that fill a 1 square degree field. The STEP survey  observations started in December 2011 and finished in 2017.​

Coverage of the STEP survey (red boxes) in comparison with the extension of the complementary "VISTA Magellanic Clouds survey (VMC)" (thin black boxes). The dots show the location of the SMC body, Wing and Bridge as traced by stellar clusters and associations 

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