The ACS LCID Project. IV. Detection of the Red Giant Branch Bump in Isolated Galaxies of the Local Group

M. Monelli, S. Cassisi, Edouard Bernard, S.~L. Hidalgo, A. Aparicio, C. Gallart, E.~D. Skillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report the detection and analysis of the red giant branch (RGB) luminosity function bump in a sample of isolated dwarf galaxies in the Local Group. We have designed a new analysis approach comparing the observed color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) with theoretical best-fit CMDs derived from precise estimates of the star formation histories of each galaxy. This analysis is based on studying the difference between the V magnitude of the RGB bump and the horizontal branch at the level of the RR Lyrae instability strip (ΔV bump HB ) and we discuss here a technique for reliably measuring this quantity in complex stellar systems. By using this approach, we find that the difference between the observed and predicted values of ΔV bump HB is +0.13 ± 0.14 mag. This is smaller, by about a factor of 2, than the well-known discrepancy between theory and observation at low metallicity commonly derived for Galactic globular clusters (GCs). This result is confirmed by a comparison between the adopted theoretical framework and empirical estimates of the ΔV bump HB parameter for both a large database of Galactic GCs and for four other dwarf spheroidal galaxies for which this estimate is available in the literature. We also investigate the strength of the RGB bump feature (R bump), and find very good agreement between the observed and theoretically predicted R bump values. This agreement supports the reliability of the evolutionary lifetimes predicted by theoretical models of the evolution of low-mass stars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-716
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume718
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

Keywords

  • galaxies: individual: Cetus dSph Tucana dSph IC1613 dIrr Leo A dIrr LGS 3 dIrrampsoldSph, galaxies: stellar content, Local Group, stars: evolution, stars: general

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