EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 405, Number 3, July III 2003
Page(s) 981 - 990
Section Stellar clusters and associations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030651

A&A 405, 981-990 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030651

The RR Lyrae star period - K-band luminosity relation of the globular cluster M 3

D. J. Butler

Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
(Received 10 February 2003 / Accepted 24 April 2003)

That the RR Lyrae star period - K-band luminosity relation is a promising tool as a distance indicator in the Milky Way and Local Group of galaxies is apparent on observational and theoretical grounds in the literature. Less clear is the sensitivity of the relation, and consequently the physics of horizontal branch stars, to differences in stellar environment. In this paper, the first measurement of the (fundamental) period - K-band luminosity relation for the central region of a globular cluster is presented. It is based on a sample of seven RR Lyrae stars imaged with adaptive optics. In addition, the relation for the outer region has been reanalyzed, and is found to be in good agreement with both the previous estimate by Longmore et al. (1990), and with the inner region relation, especially when irregular and double-mode RR Lyrae stars are excluded. Importantly, there is no difference between the slope of the inner and outer region relation within measurement uncertainties, suggesting no difference in evolutionary state (luminosity). Taking the M 3 distance modulus as $15.0 \pm0.07$ mag, the period-absolute K-band magnitude relation derived by linear least squares fitting is: ${M_{K} = -0.96 (\pm 0.10) - 2.42 (\pm
0.16) {\rm Log}\,P_{\rm o}}$ for the inner region. Excluding irregular variable stars, the outer region relation is: ${M_{K} = -1.07\,(\pm 0.10) - 2.38 (\pm 0.15) {\rm
Log}\,P_{\rm o}}$ . This good agreement provides further strong support for the near-IR period-luminosity relation as a distance indicator.

Key words: stars: variables: RR Lyr -- stars: distances -- stars: horizontal branch -- stars: imaging -- instrumentation: adaptive optics

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2003