EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue A&A
Volume 476, Number 2, December III 2007
Page(s) 779 - 790
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078206

A&A 476, 779-790 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078206

RR Lyrae stars in Galactic globular clusters

VI. The period-amplitude relation
G. Bono1, 2, F. Caputo1, and M. Di Criscienzo1, 3

1  INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Italy
    e-mail: [bono;caputo;dicriscienzo]@mporzio.astro.it
2  European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei Munchen, Germany
3  INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy

(Received 2 July 2007 / Accepted 18 September 2007 )

Aims.This work uses nonlinear convective models of RR Lyrae stars and evolutionary predictions of low-mass helium burning stellar structures to constrain the properties of cluster and field RR Lyrae variables. In particular, we address two problems: is the Period-Amplitude (PAV) plane of fundamental (RRab) variables a good diagnostic for the metal abundance? Is the MV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation of field and cluster variables linear over the whole metal abundance range of [ Fe/H$]\sim -$2.5 to ~0?
Methods.We perform a detailed comparison between theory and observations for fundamental RR Lyrae variables in the solar neighborhood and in both Oosterhoff type I (OoI) and type II (OoII) Galactic globular clusters.
Results.We show that the distribution of cluster RRab variables in the PAV plane depends not only on the metal abundance, but also on the cluster Horizontal Branch (HB) morphology. We find that on average the observed pulsation parameter $k_{\rm puls}$ connecting the period to the visual amplitude increases when moving from metal-poor to metal-rich GGCs. However, this parameter shows marginal changes among OoI clusters with intermediate to red HB types and iron abundances $-1.8\le[$Fe/H$]\le-1.1$, whereas its value decreases in OoII clusters with the bluer HB morphology, although these clusters are also the less metal-poor ones of the group. Moreover, at [ Fe/H $]=-1.7\pm0.1$ the OoI clusters present redder HB types and larger $\langle k_{\rm puls}\rangle$ values than the OoII clusters. The RRab variables in $\omega$ Cen and in the solar neighborhood further support the evidence that the spread in [Fe/H], at fixed $k_{\rm puls}$, is of the order of $\pm$0.5 dex. Using the results of synthetic HB simulations, we show that the PAV plane can provide accurate cluster distance estimates. We find that the RRab variables in OoI and in OoII clusters with very blue HB types obey a well-defined MV(RR)- $k_{\rm puls}$ relation, while those in OoII clusters with moderately blue HB types present a zero-point that is ~0.05 mag brighter. Regarding field variables, we show that with [ Fe/H$]\ge -$1.0 a unique MV(RR)- $k_{\rm puls}$ relation can be adopted, independently of the color distribution of the parent HB star population.
Conclusions. Current findings suggest that the PAV distribution is not a robust diagnostic for the metal abundance of RRab variables. However, the same observables can be used to estimate the absolute magnitude of globular cluster and field RRab variables. We show that over the metallicity range $-2.4\le[{\rm Fe/H}]\le 0.0$ the MV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation is not linear but has a parabolic behavior.

Key words: Galaxy: globular clusters: general -- stars: evolution -- stars: horizontal-branch -- stars: oscillations -- stars: variables: RR Lyr

© ESO 2007

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Editor-in-Chief: T. Forveille
Letters Editor-in-Chief: J. Alves
Managing Editor: C. Bertout

ISSN: 0004-6361 ; e-ISSN: 1432-0746
Frequency: 12 volumes per year
Published by: EDP Sciences

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