EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 424, Number 3, September IV 2004
Page(s) 927 - 934
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040307

A&A 424, 927-934 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040307

Bright metal-poor variables: Why "Anomalous" Cepheids?

F. Caputo1, V. Castellani1, 2, S. Degl'Innocenti3, 4, G. Fiorentino1, 5 and M. Marconi6

1  INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via di Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
2  INFN, Sezione di Ferrara, via Paradiso 12, 44100
3  Dipartimento di Fisica, Universita' di Pisa, via Buonarroti 2, 56127 Pisa, Italy
4  INFN, Sezione di Pisa, via Buonarroti 2, 56127 Pisa, Italy
5  Universita' "Tor Vergata", via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133, Roma, Italy
6  INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy

(Received 20 February 2004 / Accepted 18 May 2004)

We investigate the theoretical scenario concerning the large sample of variables recently discovered in the dwarf, metal-poor irregular galaxy Leo A, focusing the attention on the "Anomalous" Cepheid phenomenon and its correlation with RR Lyrae stars, Classical and Population II Cepheids. To this purpose, we make use of suitable stellar and pulsation models to depict the pulsational history of evolutionary structures with metallicity Z=0.0004. We find that He-burning pulsators are expected only outside the mass interval ~0.8-1.7  $M_{\odot}$. Stars from ~1.8 to 4  $M_{\odot}$, a mass range including both Anomalous and Classical Cepheids, populate to good approximation a common MV-log $P_{\rm F}$ instability strip, independently of the previous occurrence of a He flash event. Their periods and luminosities increase with the stellar mass and they are at a lower luminosity level $M_{V,\rm LE}\sim -0.5$ mag, as observed in Leo A. The class of less massive pulsators ( M<0.8  $M_{\odot}$, namely RR Lyrae stars and Population II Cepheids ) populate a distinct instability strip, where the magnitudes become brighter and the periods longer when the pulsator mass decreases. The dependence on metal content in this scenario has been investigated over the range Z=0.0002 to 0.008. The edges of the pulsational strip for the more massive class of pulsators appear to be independent of metallicity, but with a minimum mass of these bright pulsators which decreases with decreasing metallicity, thus decreasing the predicted minimum luminosity and period. Comparison with data for Cepheids in Leo A and in the moderately metal-rich extragalactic stellar system Sextans A discloses an encouraging agreement with the predicted pulsational scenario. On this basis, we predict that in a stellar system where both RR Lyrae stars and Cepheids are observed their magnitude difference may help in constraining both the metal content and the distance. The current classification of metal-poor Cepheids is briefly discussed and suggestion is advanced for an updated terminology abreast with the current knowledge of stellar evolution.

Key words: stars: variables: Cepheids -- stars: evolution

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2004