Monthly Archives: July 2006

Image-Subtraction Photometry of Variable Stars in NGC 6388 and NGC 6441

New paper (“The Astronomical Journal”, Volume 132):

    Corwin, T. Michael; Sumerel, Andrew N.; Pritzl, Barton J.; Smith, Horace A.; Catelan, M.; Sweigart, Allen V.; Stetson, Peter B.

Image-Subtraction Photometry of Variable Stars in the Globular Clusters NGC 6388 and NGC 6441

We have applied Alard’s image-subtraction method (ISIS ver. 2.1) to the observations of the globular clusters NGC 6388 and NGC 6441 previously analyzed using standard photometric techniques (DAOPHOT and ALLFRAME). In this reanalysis of observations obtained at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, besides recovering the variables previously detected on the basis of our ground-based images, we have also been able to recover most of the RR Lyrae variables previously detected only in the analysis of Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 observations of the inner region of NGC 6441. In addition, we report five possible new variables not found in the analysis of the Hubble Space Telescope observations of NGC 6441. This dramatically illustrates the capabilities of image-subtraction techniques applied to ground-based data to recover variables in extremely crowded fields. We have also detected 12 new variables and 6 possible variables in NGC 6388 not found in our previous ground-based studies. The revised mean period for RRab stars in NGC 6388 is 0.676 days, while the mean period of RRab stars in NGC 6441 is unchanged at 0.759 days. These values are among the largest known for any Galactic globular cluster. Additional probable type II Cepheids were identified in NGC 6388, confirming its status as a metal-rich globular cluster rich in Cepheids.

ADS link to the paper


HST Proper Motions and Stellar Dynamics in the Core of 47 Tuc

Preprint (astro-ph/0607597)

Authors: Dean E. McLaughlin, Jay Anderson, Georges Meylan, Karl Gebhardt, Carlton Pryor, Dante Minniti, Sterl Phinney
“HST Proper Motions and Stellar Dynamics in the Core of the Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae”

We have used HST imaging of the central regions (R<100 arcsec, about 5 core radii) of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae to derive proper motions and U- and V-band magnitudes for 14,366 cluster members. We also present a catalogue of astrometry and F475W photometry for nearly 130,000 stars in a rather larger central area. These data are made available in their entirety, in the form of downloadable electronic tables. We use them first to obtain a new estimate for the position of the cluster center and to define the stellar density profile into essentially zero radius. We then search in particular for any very fast-moving stars, such as might be expected to result from very close stellar encounters. Likely fewer than 0.1% (and no more than about 0.3%) of stars have total speeds above the nominal central escape velocity in 47 Tuc, and at lower speeds the velocity distribution is described very well by a regular King model. Considerations of only the proper-motion velocity dispersion then lead to a number of results: (1) Blue stragglers in the core of 47 Tuc have a velocity dispersion lower than that of the cluster giants by a factor of sqrt{2}. (2) The velocity distribution in the cluster center is essentially isotropic, as expected. (3) Using a sample of radial velocities for stars in the core, we estimate the distance to 47 Tuc: D = 4.0 +/- 0.35 kpc. And (4) we infer a 1-sigma upper limit of M<1000-1500 solar masses for any central, intermediate-mass black hole. We can neither confirm nor refute the hypothesis that 47 Tuc might lie on an extension of the M-sigma relation observed for supermassive black holes in galaxy bulges. [Abridged]

On the primordial scenario for abundance variations within GCs…

New paper (ApJ Vol. 645):

Salaris, Maurizio; Weiss, Achim; Ferguson, Jason W.; Fusilier, David J.

On the Primordial Scenario for Abundance Variations within Globular Clusters: The Isochrone Test

Self-enrichment processes occurring in the early stages of a globular cluster lifetime are generally invoked to explain the observed CNONaMgAl abundance anticorrelations within individual Galactic globular clusters. We have tested, with fully consistent stellar evolution calculations, whether theoretical isochrones for stars born with the observed abundance anticorrelations satisfy the observational evidence that objects with different degrees of these anomalies lie on essentially identical sequences in the color-magnitude diagram (CMD). To this purpose, we have computed for the first time low-mass stellar models and isochrones with an initial metal mixture that includes the extreme values of the observed abundance anticorrelations and varying initial He mass fractions. Comparisons with “normal” α-enhanced isochrones and suitable Monte Carlo simulations that include photometric errors show that a significant broadening of the CMD sequences occurs only if the helium enhancement is extremely large (in this study, when Y=0.35) in the stars showing anomalous abundances. Stellar luminosity functions up to the red giant branch tip are also very weakly affected, apart from-depending on the He content of the polluting material-the red giant branch bump region. We also study the distribution of stars along the zero-age horizontal branch and derive general constraints on the relative location of objects with and without abundance anomalies along the observed horizontal branches of globular clusters.

Publication: The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 645, Issue 2, pp. 1131-1137.

ADS Link

astro-ph Link

The period-luminosity relation for type II Cepheids in GCs

New paper:

Matsunaga, Noriyuki et al.

The period-luminosity relation for type II Cepheids in globular clusters

We report the result of our near-infrared observations (JHKs) for type II Cepheids (including possible RV Tau stars) in galactic globular clusters. We detected variations of 46 variables in 26 clusters (10 new discoveries in seven clusters) and present their light curves. Their periods range from 1.2 d to over 80 d. They show a well-defined period-luminosity relation at each wavelength. Two type II Cepheids in NGC 6441 also obey the relation if we assume the horizontal branch stars in NGC 6441 are as bright as those in metal-poor globular clusters in spite of the high metallicity of the cluster. This result supports the high luminosity which has been suggested for the RR Lyr variables in this cluster (…)

Publication: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Online Early