Stellar Evolution of the Star Cluster NGC 602 and Massive Star Formation in the Low-Density Wing of the SMC
The young star cluster NGC 602 and its surroundings in the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) exhibit active star formation despite the sparse supply of dense gas from which to form stars. This region is also associated with the huge ionized gas ring DEM167 in the SMC. Using archival optical photometric data from the Uppsala Schmidt Telescope and new near-UV photometric data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, we determine the colors and consequently the relative ages of ~1000 stars in this region. Furthermore, we incorporate spectra obtained with the ESO-VLT to more accurately determine the properties of luminous massive stars. These measurements are combined to explore the recent star formation history of this region near the tip of the SMC and to study how the young stellar populations relate to the ISM.