Volume 371, Number 2, May IV 2001
|Page(s)||487 - 496|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 May 2001|
Tip of the red giant branch distance for the Sculptor group dwarf ESO 540-032 *
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Australian National University, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Road, Weston ACT 2611, Australia
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
3 Department of Astronomy, P. Universidad Católica, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, Chile
Corresponding author: H. Jerjen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 9 March 2001
We present the first VI CCD photometry for the Sculptor group galaxy ESO 540-032 obtained at the Very Large Telescope UT1+FORS1. The colour-magnitude diagram indicates that this intermediate-type dwarf galaxy is dominated by old, metal-poor ( dex) stars, with a small population of slightly more metal-rich ( dex), young (age 150-500 Myr) stars. A discontinuity in the I-band luminosity function is detected at mag. Interpreting this feature as the tip of the red giant branch and adopting mag for its absolute magnitude, we have determined a Population II distance modulus of mag Mpc). This distance confirms ESO 540-032 as a member of the nearby Sculptor group but is significantly larger than a previously reported value based on the Surface Brightness Fluctuation (SBF) method. The results from stellar population synthesis models suggest that the application of the SBF technique on dwarf galaxies with mixed morphology requires a detailed knowledge of the underlying stellar composition and thus offers no advantage over a direct distance measurement using the tip of the red giant branch as distance indicator. We produce the surface brightness profiles for ESO 540-032 and derive the photometric and structural parameters. The global properties follow closely the relations between metallicity and both absolute magnitude and central surface brightness defined by dwarf elliptical galaxies in the Local Group. Finally, we identify and discuss a non-stellar object near the galaxy center which may resemble a globular cluster.
Key words: galaxies: abundances / galaxies: clusters: individual: Sculptor / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: individual: ESO 540-032 / galaxies: stellar content / galaxies: structure
© ESO, 2001
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