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The Oosterhoff Period Effect and the Age of the Galactic Globular Cluster System

  • Allan Sandage (a1)

Abstract

The Oosterhoff division of globular clusters into two dichotomous mean period groups is a result of the variation with metallicity of the combined effects of (1) a mean increase in period with decreasing metallicity, and (2) the change of globular cluster horizontal branch (HB) morphology from the M3 to the M13 HB type within the instability strip in the metallicity range of [Fe/H] between -1.7 and -1.9. A new representation of the Oosterhoff period effect showing this property is made from the individual cluster data in Figure 1. The relation between period and metallicity for cluster and for field RR Lyraes at the blue fundamental edge of the instability strip in the HR diagram as read from this figure is

log Pab = -0.122(±0.02)([Fe/H]) - 0.500(±0.01)

using the metallicity scale of Butler.

The high slope coefficient is consistent with the extant models of the HB when they are read at the varing temperature of the fundamental blue edge given by equation (3) of the text. Most of the current literature treats only the constant temperature condition, which is manifestly incorrect. It is this temperature effect that reconciles the observations and the models.

A new calibration of the absolute magnitudes of RR Lyrae stars as a function of metallicity, combined with new oxygen enhanced isochrones for globular clusters (Bergbusch & VandenBerg 1992) reduces the age of the Galactic globular cluster system to 14.1 ± 0.3 Gyr (internal error). The resulting lower age of the universe which, when combined with a Hubble constant near 50 km s-1 Mpc-1 determined from type I supernovae, shows that the cosmological expansion has been decelerated by an amount consistent with the closure density, permitting Ω ∼ 1 now from the timing test.

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The Oosterhoff Period Effect and the Age of the Galactic Globular Cluster System

  • Allan Sandage (a1)

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