Volume 456, Number 3, September IV 2006
|Page(s)||1085 - 1096|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||06 September 2006|
Global fitting of globular cluster age indicators
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany e-mail: [meissner;weiss]@mpa-garching.mpg.de
Accepted: 12 June 2006
Context.Stellar models and the methods for the age determinations of globular clusters are still in need of improvement.
Aims.We attempt to obtain a more objective method of age determination based on cluster diagrams, avoiding the introduction of biases due to the preference of one single age indicator.
Methods.We compute new stellar evolutionary tracks and derive the dependence of age indicating points along the tracks and isochrone – such as the turn-off or bump location – as a function of age and metallicity. The same critical points are identified in the colour-magnitude diagrams of globular clusters from a homogeneous database. Several age indicators are then fitted simultaneously, and the overall best-fitting isochrone is selected to determine the cluster age. We also determine the goodness-of-fit for different sets of indicators to estimate the confidence level of our results.
Results.We find that our isochrones provide no acceptable fit for all age indicators. In particular, the location of the bump and the brightness of the tip of the red giant branch are problematic. On the other hand, the turn-off region is very well reproduced, and restricting the method to indicators depending on it results in trustworthy ages. Using an alternative set of isochrones improves the situation, but neither leads to an acceptable global fit.
Conclusions.We conclude that evolutionary tracks of low-mass metal-poor stars are far from reproducing all aspects of globular cluster colour–magnitude diagrams and that the determination of cluster ages still depends on the favourite method or indicator chosen.
Key words: stars: evolution / Galaxy: globular clusters: general
© ESO, 2006
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