Dipartimento di AstronomiaUniversita di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo, 11, 34127 Trieste, Italy
2 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo, 11, 34127 Trieste, Italy
3 Institut fur Astronomie, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Str. 37, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Received: 6 July 2010
Accepted: 7 February 2011
Aims. We provide an empirical calibration relation to convert Lick indices into abundances for the integrated light of old, simple stellar populations for a large range in the observed [Fe/H] and [α/Fe]. This calibration supersedes the previously adopted ones because it is based on the real abundance pattern of the stars instead of the commonly adopted metallicity scale derived from the colours.
Methods. We carried out a long-slit spectroscopic study of 23 Galactic globular clusters (GCs) for which detailed chemical abundances in stars have previously been measured. The line-strength indices, as defined by the Lick system and Serven and collaborators, were measured in low-resolution integrated spectra of the GC light. The results were compared to average abundances and abundance ratios in stars taken from the compilation by Pritzl and collaborators, as well as synthetic models.
Results. The Fe-related indices increase linearly as a function of [Fe/H] for [Fe/H] > − 2. The Mg-related indices respond in a similar way to [Mg/H] variations, although Mgb turns out to be a less reliable metallicity indicator for [Z/H] < − 1.5. Despite our knowledge of the Mg overabundance with respect to Fe in GC stars, we are unable to infer a mean [Mg/Fe] for the integrated spectra that correlates with the resolved stars properties, because the sensitivity of the indices to [Mg/Fe] is smaller at lower metallicities. We present empirical calibrations for Ca, TiO, Ba, and Eu indices, as well as the measurements of Hα and NaD.
Key words: globular clusters: general / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, programs 0.77B0195(A) and (B).
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011