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RR Lyrae to understand the Galactic halo

  • Giuliana Fiorentino (a1)

Abstract

We present recent results obtained using old variable RR Lyrae stars on the Galactic halo structure and its connection with nearby dwarf galaxies. We compare the period and period-amplitude distributions for a sizeable sample of fundamental mode RR Lyrae stars (RRab) in dwarf spheroidals (~1300 stars) with those in the Galactic halo (~16'000 stars) and globular clusters (~1000 stars). RRab in dwarfs –as observed today– do not appear to follow the pulsation properties shown by those in the Galactic halo, nor they have the same properties as RRab in globulars. Thanks to the OGLE experiment we extended our comparison to massive metal–rich satellites like the dwarf irregular Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the Sagittarius (Sgr) dwarf spheroidal. These massive and more metal–rich stellar systems likely have contributed to the Galactic halo formation more than classical dwarf spheroidals.

Finally, exploiting the intrinsic nature of RR Lyrae as distance indicators we were able to study the period and period amplitude distributions of RRab within the Halo. It turned out that the inner and the outer Halo do show a difference that may suggest a different formation scenario (in situ vs accreted).

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RR Lyrae to understand the Galactic halo

  • Giuliana Fiorentino (a1)

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