Letter to the Editor
Resolving stellar populations outside the Local Group: MAD observations of UKS 2323-326*
Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, INAF, vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, INAF, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 18 March 2008
Aims. We present a study aimed at deriving constraints on star formation at intermediate ages from the evolved stellar populations in the dwarf irregular galaxy UKS 2323-326. These observations were also intended to demonstrate the scientific capabilities of the multi-conjugated adaptive optics demonstrator (MAD) implemented at the ESO Very Large Telescope as a test-bench of adaptive optics (AO) techniques.
Methods. We perform accurate, deep photometry of the field using J and Ks band AO images of the central region of the galaxy.
Results. The near-infrared (IR) colour-magnitude diagrams clearly show the sequences of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, red supergiants, and red giant branch (RGB) stars down to ~1 mag below the RGB tip. Optical-near-IR diagrams, obtained by combining our data with Hubble Space Telescope observations, provide the best separation of stars in the various evolutionary stages. The counts of AGB stars brighter than the RGB tip allow us to estimate the star formation at intermediate ages. Assuming a Salpeter initial mass function, we find that the star formation episode at intermediate ages produced ~6 of stars in the observed region.
Key words: galaxies: individual: UKS2323-326 / galaxies: stellar content / stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: carbon / instrumentation: adaptive optics / galaxies: individual: ugca438
© ESO, 2008