Volume 537, January 2012
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||12 January 2012|
Strengthening the open cluster distance scale via VVV photometry⋆
1 Department of Astronomy and PhysicsSaint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3, Canada
2 Departmento de Astronomía, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
3 Departamento Astronomía y Astrofísica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago, Chile
4 Vatican Observatory, 00120 Vatican City State, Italy
5 Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1001, USA
6 Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
7 Departamento de Física y Astronomía, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Valparaíso, Ave. Gran Bretaña 1111, Playa Ancha, Casilla 5030, Valparaíso, Chile
8 European Southern Observatory, Ave. Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19, 19001 Santiago, Chile
9 Departamento de Astronomia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonalves 9500 Porto Alegre 91501-970, RS, Brazil
10 Department of Physics, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University, Corner Brook, Newfoundland A2H 6P9, Canada
11 Departamento de Física, Universidad de La Serena, Cisternas 1200 Norte, La Serena, Chile
Received: 9 December 2011
Accepted: 18 December 2011
Approximately 14% of known Galactic open clusters possess absolute errors ≤ 20% as evaluated from n ≥ 3 independent distance estimates, and the statistics for age estimates are markedly worse. That impedes such diverse efforts as calibrating standard candles and constraining masses for substellar companions. New data from the VVV survey may be employed to establish precise cluster distances with comparatively reduced uncertainties ( ≤ 10%). This is illustrated by deriving parameters for Pismis 19 and NGC 4349, two pertinent open clusters which hitherto feature sizable uncertainties (60%). Fundamental parameters determined for Pismis 19 from new VVV JHKs photometry are d = 2.40 ± 0.15 kpc, ⟨EJ − H⟩ = 0.34 ± 0.04, and log τ = 9.05 ± 0.10, whereas for NGC 4349 the analysis yielded d = 1.63 ± 0.13 kpc, EJ − H = 0.09 ± 0.02, log τ = 8.55 ± 0.10. The results exhibit a significant ( ≥ 5 × ) reduction in uncertainties, and indicate that: i) existing parameters for the substellar object NGC 4349 127b require revision, in part because the new cluster parameters imply that the host is 20% less-massive (ℳ∗/ℳ⊙ ~ 3.1); ii) R Cru is not a member of NGC 4349 and should be excluded from period-Wesenheit calibrations that anchor the distance scale; iii) and results for Pismis 19 underscore the advantages gleaned from employing deep VVV JHKs data to examine obscured (AV ~ 4) and differentially reddened intermediate-age clusters.
Key words: techniques: photometric / Hertzsprung-Russell and C-M diagrams / dust, extinction / stars: distances
© ESO, 2012
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