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M32: Is there an Ancient and Metal-poor Stellar Population?

  • Giuliana Fiorentino (a1), Antonela Monachesi (a1), Scott C. Trager (a1), Tod R. Lauer (a2), Abhijit Saha (a2), Kenneth J. Mighell (a2), Wendy Freedman (a3), Alan Dressler (a3), Carl Grillmair (a4) and Eline Tolstoy (a1)...

Abstract

We observed two fields near M32 with the ACS/HRC (Program GO-10572, PI: T. Lauer) on board the Hubble Space Telescope, located at distances of about 1.8' and 5.4' (hereafter F1 and F2, respectively) from the center of M32. To obtain a very detailed and deep color-magnitude diagram (CMD) and to look for short period variability, we obtained time-series imaging of each field in 32-orbit-long exposures using the F435W (B) and F555W (V) filters, spanning a temporal range of 2 days per filter. We focus on our detection of variability on RR Lyrae variable stars, which represents the only way to obtain information about the presence of a very old population (larger than 10 Gyr) in M32 from optical data. Here we present results obtained from the detection of 31 RR Lyrae in these fields: 17 in F1 and 14 in F2. We claim we detected 7+4−3 RR Lyrae variables belonging to M32 in F1 thus indicating the presence of a metal-poor ancient population in M32.

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References

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