740 research outputs found

    On the Radial Distribution of White Dwarfs in the Globular Cluster NGC 6397

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    We have examined the radial distribution of white dwarfs over a single HST/ACS field in the nearby globular cluster NGC 6397. In relaxed populations, such as in a globular cluster, stellar velocity dispersion, and hence radial distribution, is directly dependent on stellar masses. The progenitors of very young cluster white dwarfs had a mass of ~0.8 solar masses, while the white dwarfs themselves have a mass of ~0.5 solar masses. We thus expect young white dwarfs to have a concentrated radial distribution (like that of their progenitors) that becomes more extended over several relaxation times to mimic that of ~0.5 solar mass main-sequence stars. However, we observe young white dwarfs to have a significantly extended radial distribution compared to both the most massive main sequence stars in the cluster and also to old white dwarfs.Comment: 13 pages including 1 table and 3 figures. Accepted for publication in the MNRAS Letter

    Late-Type Stars in M31. I.: A Photometric Study of AGB Stars and Metallicity Gradients.

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    We have imaged five 7\arcmin \x 7\arcmin\ fields in M31 spanning galactocentric radii from 4 to 32 kpc along the SW-major axis. The fields were observed through two broad-band (\V\ and \I) and two narrow-band (\CN\ and \TiO) filters. The broad-band data were used to construct \IvsVI\ color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) and, in some of our fields, we found significant numbers of stars in the Cepheid instability strip. A distance modulus for the Cepheids in the middle field was found that agreed well with other values in the literature values. The width of the giant branch (GB) in the \IvsVI\ CMD of all 5 fields was investigated, and we show that in four of the fields a likely explanation for the GB width is a combination of {\it both} metallicity and mass variations. Using the broad-band data, the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) luminosity functions (LFs) were measured in the five fields, and we show that differences exist between these LFs. We speculate on how the different star forming histories in the fields may lead to the observed AGB LFs and GB widths. Using the narrow-band data along with the broad-band data we separated the AGB stars into carbon-rich (C) and oxygen-rich (M) types. The carbon stars LFs were used to obtain an estimate for the distance modulus of M31 which agrees with the value derived from Cepheids. The ratio of C- to M-stars (C/M) is believed to be an indicator of gaseous chemical abundance at the time of formation of these stars. We show that the C/M ratio increases smoothly with galactocentric distance, suggesting an inverse correlation with metallicity. This is the first demonstration of this effect within a single extragalactic system. We find that differences in the width of the GB and the AGB LFs do not significantly affect the C/M ratio. We consider the effect of the increasing C/M ratio on the ISM in M31, and cite evidence in favor of a model where the grain composition in M31 is a function of galactocentric distance.Comment: UUencoded compressed postscript, 3 Figs. available on request. (Contact [email protected]

    A Cluster of Compact Radio Sources in NGC 2024 (Orion B)

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    We present deep 3.6 cm radio continuum observations of the H II region NGC 2024 in Orion B obtained using the Very Large Array in its A-configuration, with 0.′′20\rlap.{''}2 angular resolution. We detect a total of 25 compact radio sources in a region of 4′×4′4' \times 4'. We discuss the nature of these sources and its relation with the infrared and X-ray objects in the region. At least two of the radio sources are obscured proplyds whose morphology can be used to restrict the location of the main ionizing source of the region. This cluster of radio sources is compared with others that have been found in regions of recent star formation.Comment: 21 pages, 7 figure

    The white dwarf cooling sequence in the old open cluster NGC 188

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    We develop the white dwarf luminosity function (LF) of the old open cluster NGC 188 in order to determine a lower limit to the age of the cluster by using the faint end of the cooling sequence. To produce an extensive sequence of the cooling white dwarfs we imaged four contiguous HST-WFPC2 fields in the center of the cluster in the F555W and F814W filters. After imposing selection criteria on the detected objects we found a white dwarf cooling sequence (down to V ~26.5) including 28 candidate white dwarfs in the cluster. The exposures are not deep enough to reach the end of this sequence, but the results of our analysis allow us to establish a lower limit to the age of the cluster independently of the isochrone fit to the cluster turnoff. The most ancient white dwarfs found are ~4 Gyr old, an age that is set solely by the photometric limit of our data. Classical methods provide an estimate of \~7 Gyr (Sarajedini et al., 1999).Comment: 6 pages, 5 figures, accepted on Astronomy and Astrophysic

    NGC 2419, M92, and the Age Gradient in the Galactic Halo

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    The WFPC2 camera on HST has been used to obtain deep main sequence photometry of the low-metallicity ([Fe/H]=-2.14), outer-halo globular cluster NGC 2419. A differential fit of the NGC 2419 CMD to that of the similarly metal-poor \ standard cluster M92 shows that they have virtually identical principal sequences and thus the same age to well within 1 Gyr. Since other low-metallicity clusters throughout the Milky Way halo have this same age to within the 1-Gyr precision of the differential age technique, we conclude that the earliest star (or globular cluster) formation began at essentially the same time everywhere in the Galactic halo throughout a region now almost 200 kpc in diameter. Thus for the metal-poorest clusters in the halo there is no detectable age gradient with Galactocentric distance. To estimate the absolute age of NGC 2419 and M92, we fit newly computed isochrones transformed through model-atmosphere calculations to the (M_V,V-I) plane, with assumed distance scales that represent the range currently debated in the literature. Unconstrained isochrone fits give M_V(RR) = 0.55 \pm 0.06 and a resulting age of 14 to 15 Gyr. Incorporating the full effects of helium diffusion would further reduce this estimate by about 1 Gyr. A distance scale as bright as M_V(RR) = 0.15 for [Fe/H] = -2, as has recently been reported, would leave several serious problems which have no obvious solution in the context of current stellar models.Comment: 32 pages, aastex, 9 postscript figures; accepted for publication in AJ, September 1997. Also available by e-mail from [email protected]

    An Empirical Measure of the Rate of White Dwarf Cooling in 47 Tucanae

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    We present an empirical determination of the white dwarf cooling sequence in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Using spectral models, we determine temperatures for 887 objects from Wide Field Camera 3 data, as well as 292 objects from data taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. We make the assumption that the rate of white dwarf formation in the cluster is constant. Stellar evolution models are then used to determine the rate at which objects are leaving the main sequence, which must be the same as the rate at which objects are arriving on the white dwarf sequence in our field. The result is an empirically derived relation between temperature (TeffT_{eff}) and time (tt) on the white dwarf cooling sequence. Comparing this result to theoretical cooling models, we find general agreement with the expected slopes between 20,000K and 30,000K and between 6,000K and 20,000K, but the transition to the Mestel cooling rate of Teff‚ąĚt‚ąí0.4T_{eff} \propto t^{-0.4} is found to occur at hotter temperatures, and more abruptly than is predicted by any of these models.Comment: 10 pages, 16 figures, accepted for publication in Ap

    An Age Difference of 2 Gyr between a Metal-Rich and a Metal-Poor Globular Cluster

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    Globular clusters trace the formation history of the spheroidal components of both our Galaxy and others, which represent the bulk of star formation over the history of the universe. They also exhibit a range of metallicities, with metal-poor clusters dominating the stellar halo of the Galaxy, and higher metallicity clusters found within the inner Galaxy, associated with the stellar bulge, or the thick disk. Age differences between these clusters can indicate the sequence in which the components of the Galaxy formed, and in particular which clusters were formed outside the Galaxy and later swallowed along with their original host galaxies, and which were formed in situ. Here we present an age determination of the metal-rich globular cluster 47 Tucanae by fitting the properties of the cluster white dwarf population, which implies an absolute age of 9.9 (0.7) Gyr at 95% confidence. This is about 2.0 Gyr younger than inferred for the metal-poor cluster NGC 6397 from the same models, and provides quantitative evidence that metal-rich clusters like 47 Tucanae formed later than the metal-poor halo clusters like NGC 6397.Comment: Main Article: 10 pages, 4 figures; Supplementary Info 15 pages, 5 figures. Nature, Aug 1, 201

    Star counts in NGC 6397

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    I-band CCD images of a large area of the nearby globular cluster NGC~6397 have been used to construct a surface density profile and two luminosity and mass functions. The surface density profile extends out to 14\arcm from the cluster center and shows no sign of a tidal cutoff. The inner profile is a power-law with slope -0.8 steepening to -1.7 outside of 1\arcm. The mass functions are for fields at 4\arcm\ and 11\arcm from the cluster center and confirm the upturn in the mass function for stars less massive than about 0.4 M\solar. There appears to be an excess of low-mass stars over higher-mass stars in the outer field with respect to the inner, in qualitative agreement with expectations for mass segregation.Comment: 16 pages + 7 pages of tables, LaTeX using AASTeX macros, 11 figures available by request, IoA preprin
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