Volume 462, Number 1, January IV 2007
|Page(s)||139 - 156|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||24 October 2006|
Physical parameters of 15 intermediate-age LMC clusters from modelling of HST colour–magnitude diagrams
Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão 1226, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo 05508-900, SP, Brazil e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, IF, CP 15051, Porto Alegre 91501-970, RS, Brazil
3 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Collurania, via M. Maggini, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Accepted: 3 October 2006
Aims.We analyzed HST/WFPC2 colour–magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of 15 populous Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) stellar clusters with ages between ~0.3 Gyr and ~3 Gyr. These (V, ) CMDs are photometrically homogeneous and typically reach . Accurate and self-consistent physical parameters (age, metallicity, distance modulus and reddening) were extracted for each cluster by comparing the observed CMDs with synthetic ones.
Methods.These determinations involved simultaneous statistical comparisons of the main-sequence fiducial line and the red clump position, offering objective and robust criteria to determine the best models. The models explored a regular grid in the parameter space covered by previous results found in the literature. Control experiments were used to test our approach and to quantify formal uncertainties.
Results.In general, the best models show a satisfactory fit to the data, constraining well the physical parameters of each cluster. The age-metallicity relation derived by us presents a lower spread than similar results found in the literature for the same clusters. Our results are in accordance with the published ages for the oldest clusters, but reveal a possible underestimation of ages by previous authors for the youngest clusters. Our metallicity results in general agree with the ones based on spectroscopy of giant stars and with recent works involving CMD analyses. The derived distance moduli implied by the most reliable solutions, correlate with the reddening values, as expected from the non-negligible three-dimensional distribution of the clusters within the LMC.
Conclusions.The inferred spatial distribution for these clusters is roughly aligned with the LMC disk, being also more scattered than recent numerical predictions, indicating that they were not formed in the LMC disk. The set of ages and metallicities homogeneously derived here can be used to calibrate integrated light studies applied to distant galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: star clusters / Magellanic Clouds / Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) and C-M diagrams
© ESO, 2007
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