We present deep, accurate, and homogeneous multiband optical (U, B, V, I) photometry of the Carina dwarf spheroidal galaxy, based on more than 4000 individual CCD images from three different ground-based telescopes. Special attention was given to the photometric calibration, and the precision for the B, V, and I bands is generally better than 0.01 mag. We have performed detailed comparisons in the V, B - V, and V, B - I color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) between Carina and three old, metal-poor Galactic globular clusters (GGCs, M53, 55, M79). We find that only the more metal-poor GCs (M55, [Fe/H] = -1.85; M53, [Fe/H] = -2.02 dex) provide a good match with the Carina giant branch. We have performed a similar comparison in the V, V - I CMD with three intermediate-age clusters (IACs) of the Small Magellanic Cloud (Kron 3, NGC 339, Lindsay 38). We find that the color extent of the subgiant branch (SGB) of the two more metal-rich IACs (Kron 3, [Fe/H] = -1.08; NGC339, [Fe/H] = -1.36 dex) is smaller than the range among Carina's intermediate-age stars. Moreover, the slope of the RGB of these two IACs is shallower than the slope of the Carina RGB. However, the ridge line of the more metal-poor IAC (Lindsay 38, [Fe/H] = -1.59 dex) agrees quite well with the Carina intermediate-age stars. These findings indicate that Carina's old stellar population is metal-poor and appears to have a limited spread in metallicity (Delta[Fe/H] = -0.2-0.3 dex). The Carina's intermediate-age stellar population can hardly be more metal-rich than Lindsay 38, and its spread in metallicity also appears modest. We also find that the synthetic CMD constructed assuming a metallicity spread of 0.5 dex for the intermediate-age stellar component predicts evolutionary features not supported by observations. In particular, red clump stars should attain colors that are redder than red giant stars, but this is not seen. These results are at odds with recent spectroscopic investigations suggesting that Carina stars cover a broad range in metallicity (Delta[Fe/H] similar to 1-2 dex). We also present a new method to estimate the metallicity of complex stellar systems using the difference in color between the red clump and the middle of the RR Lyrae instability strip. The observed colors of Carina's evolved stars indicate a metallicity of [Fe/H] = -1.70 +/- 0.19 dex, which agrees quite well with spectroscopic measurements.
|Autori:||Bono G; Stetson PB; Walker AR; Monelli M; Fabrizio M; Pietrinferni A; Brocato E; Buonanno R; Caputo F; Cassisi S; Castellani M; Cignoni M; Corsi CE; Dall'Ora M; Degl'Innocenti S; Francois P; Ferraro I; Iannicola G; Nonino M; Prada Moroni P.; Pulone L; Smith HA; Thevenin F|
|Titolo:||On the Stellar Content of the Carina Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy|
|Anno del prodotto:||2010|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1086/653590|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|