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Variable stars are good stellar tracers. Among various variables, Miras have long periods and are at the evolutionary phase of asymptotic giant branch. Their low effective temperatures lead to a difficulty to determine their chemical composition that since plenty of molecular bands exist in their spectra which even blocks the identifition of metallic lines. However, molecular features are less common in near-infrared (NIR) compared with other wavelength ranges. Here we take advantage of the high-resolution (R ~ 28, 000) spectra obtained with WINERED, which is a NIR spectrograph covering the wavelength range of 0.91–1.35 μm, to analyze and determine the chemical abundances of three Miras in the Galactic globular cluster 47 Tuc (NGC 104). Steps of data reduction and analysis, as well as part of the preliminary results, are briefly shown.
Cepheids are excellent stellar tracers: they are bright enough to be observed even at large distances; their distances can be accurately determined via period-luminosity relations; their spectra contain numerous lines that enable us to derive abundances for many α, iron-peak or neutron-capture elements. Classical Cepheids are yellow supergiants that trace the young populations (⩽ 300 Myr); Type II Cepheids are post Horizontal Branch, low-mass, Population II stars (⩾ 10 Gyr). Both can be used for many purposes in Milky Way archaeology.
RR Lyrae variables are old (>10 Gyr) stars and, as such, they are useful probes of the earliest events of star formation in galaxies (Bernard et al. 2008, Martínez-Vázquez et al. 2016) as well as of the galaxy assembly process predicted by ΛCDM simulations of structure formation. In fact, the nature of the building-blocks of galaxies such as the Milky Way, and in particular, those of their stellar haloes, has been a matter of a substantial debate (Venn et al. 2004). Unlike other stellar tracers, RR Lyrae offer a snapshot of the stellar content present at the epoch when most of the merging action is predicted to have taken place, and thus they are ideal witnesses of this process.
Palynological, sedimentological and stable isotopic analyses of carbonates and organic matter performed on the El Portalet sequence (1802 m a.s.l., 42°48′00ʺN, 0°23′52ʺW) reflect the paleoclimatic evolution and vegetation history in the central-western Spanish Pyrenees over the last 30,000 yr, and provide a high-resolution record for the late glacial period. Our results confirm previous observations that deglaciation occurred earlier in the Pyrenees than in northern European and Alpine sites and point to a glacial readvance from 22,500 to 18,000 cal yr BP, coinciding with the global last glacial maximum. The patterns shown by the new, high-resolution pollen data from this continental sequence, chronologically constrained by 13 AMS 14C dates, seem to correlate with the rapid climate changes recorded in Greenland ice cores during the last glacial–interglacial transition. Abrupt events observed in northern latitudes (Heinrich events 3 to 1, Oldest and Older Dryas stades, Intra-Allerød Cold Period, and 8200 cal yr BP event) were also identified for the first time in a lacustrine sequence from the central-western Pyrenees as cold and arid periods. The coherent response of the vegetation and the lake system to abrupt climate changes implies an efficient translation of climate variability from the North Atlantic to mid latitudes.
Limited information is available on the incidence of Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) in Italian hospitals. In this study, we assessed the changes in the incidence of CDI over a 5-year period in a teaching hospital in Liguria, the Italian region with the oldest population. Secondary endpoints were the development of severe CDI and 30-day mortality. The annual incidence of CDI/10000 patient-days significantly increased from 0·54 in 2010 to 3·04 in 2014 (χ2 for trend, P < 0·001). The median age of patients with CDI was 81 years. As many as 81% and 89% of these patients had comorbid conditions and previous exposure to antibiotics, respectively. In the multivariate analysis of risk factors for severe CDI, previous therapy with histamine 2 blockers and low serum albumin were associated with severe CDI, while diabetes appeared to be protective. In the multivariate model of risk factors for 30-day mortality, high leukocyte count, low serum albumin, and increased serum creatinine were unfavourably associated with outcome. Strict adherence to infection control measures was of utmost importance to counteract the increasing incidence of CDI in our hospital, particularly because of the advanced age of the patients and their very high frequency of chronic conditions and use of antibiotics, which readily predispose them to the development of CDI.
We introduce the empirical framework concerning optical and near-infrared (NIR) photometry of crowded stellar fields. In particular, we address the impact that linear detectors and analytical PSF played in improving the accuracy and the precision of multi-band color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs). We focus our attention on recent findings based on deep NIR images collected with Adaptive Optics (AO) systems at the 8-10m class telescopes and discuss pros and cons of the different approaches. We also discuss the estimate of the absolute age of globular clusters using a well defined knee along the lower main sequence. We mention the role which the current AO-assisted instruments will have in addressing longstanding astrophysical problems of the Galactic center. Finally, we outline the role of first generation of E-ELT instruments upon photometry and spectroscopy of crowded stellar fields.
We present new and independent estimates of the distances to the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) using near-infrared (NIR) and optical–NIR period–Wesenheit (PW) relations. The slopes of the PW relations are, within the dispersion, linear over the entire period range and independent of metal content. The absolute zero points were fixed using Galactic Cepheids with distances based on the infrared surface-brightness method. The true distance modulus we found for the Large Magellanic Cloud—(m − M)0 = 18.48 ± 0.01 ± 0.10 mag—and the Small Magellanic Cloud—(m − M)0 = 18.94 ± 0.01 ± 0.10 mag—agree quite well with similar distance determinations based on robust distance indicators. We also briefly discuss the evolutionary and pulsation properties of MC Cepheids.
We present a precise and accurate measurement of the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud based on late-type eclipsing-binary systems. Our results provide curently the most accurate zero point for the extragalactic distance scale.
We present new results of a long-term investigation of the stellar content of the Large and the Small Magellanic Cloud. The main aim of the project is to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the star formation history of these two nearby galaxies. Here we discuss the latest findings obtained using new data and a variety of different observational approaches, based on wide-field ground-based photometry and low-resolution CaT spectra. We find evidence of two main star formation events across the LMC disk. We also found evidence that the young and intermediate age population (<5 Gyr) presents a steeper gradient with radius than the old one (>8 Gyr). In particular, the young (<2 Gyr) component seems to extend to 8 degrees from the center, distance at which it decreases abruptly. At larger distance, the old population dominates, extending to at least 13.5 kpc. We also report the discovery of a population of stars located across the Magellanic Bridge, compatible with the old population of the LMC.
We present the radial velocity (RV) distribution of Carina dSph, obtained using low-, medium- and high-resolution spectroscopic data collected with FORS2 and GIRAFFE at the VLT. We found that regions where the mean RV is smaller the dispersion is also smaller, and the RV distribution is sharper (i.e. the kurtosis attains larger values). The mean RV, when moving to lower Galactic latitude, decreases by ∼ 5kms−1, attains a well defined minimum outside the galaxy center, and a constant value at larger distances. The RV gradient appears to be in the direction of the Carina proper motion. However, this parameter is affected by large uncertainties to reach a firm conclusion. These findings are probably reminiscent of a substructure with transition properties, already detected in dwarf ellipticals, and call for independent confirmations.
We devised a new method to estimate globular cluster absolute ages by adopting the knee of the bending of the lower main-sequence (MS) in the Near-Infrared (NIR) J, J - Ks color-magnitude diagram. The color difference between this feature and the Turn-Off point is strongly correlated to the cluster age. This method is marginally affected by distance and reddening uncertainties, and by the possible occurrence of differential reddening. Furthermore, the knee location does not depend on the cluster age and it is a robust theoretical prediction. We adopted accurate J, Ks-band photometry collected with both MAD/VLT and SOFI/NTT for the Galactic globular cluster NGC 3201 to identify the location of the knee at J~19.90 ±0.03 and J-Ks ~0.76±0.02 mag. The comparison with different sets of cluster isochrones, transformed adopting different Color–Temperature–Relations (CTRs), shows that the models are slightly redder than the observations for J > 19 mag. This difference could be due to the presence of a calibration drift or to a problem of the CTRs in this magnitude range.
We discuss how a wide field imager with very high spatial
resolution on a relatively small telescope–but located in an observing
site with very good seeing–might constrain the
fraction of binary stars in Galactic globular clusters. We also mention
the role that the new data might play in investigating advanced evolutionary
phases of low-mass stars. Moreover, we discuss the role that an Extremely
Large Telescope might have on the longstanding problem of cosmic distances
and stellar populations. In particular, we discuss the impact that the detection
of Cepheids in galaxies at the distance of the Coma cluster and of RR Lyrae
stars in galaxies at the distance of the Virgo cluster might have on the
calibration of secondary distance indicators.
We adopted uvby Strömgren photometry to investigate the metallicity distribution of ω Cen Red Giant (RG) stars. We provided a new empirical calibration of the Strömgren m1≡(v − b) − (b − y) metallicity index based on cluster stars. The new calibration has been applied to a sample of ω Cen RGs. The shape of the estimated metallicity distribution is clearly asymmetric, with a sharp cut-off at low metallicities ([Fe/H] < −2.0) and a metal-rich tail up to [Fe/H] ∼ 0.0. Two main metallicity peaks have been identified, around [Fe/H]≈ −1.9 and −1.3 dex, and a metal-rich shoulder at ≈ −0.2 dex.
Multi-object spectrographs available on 8-m class telescopes provide the unique opportunity to directly investigate the kinematical and chemical properties of significant samples of resolved stars in galaxies of the Local Group. We present here the first results concerning an extensive study of stellar populations of the Carina dSph galaxy, based on data collected with the multi-object spectrographs FORS2 and FLAMES, both available at VLT. Preliminary estimates concerning the radial velocity distributions of the different samples are presented.
We present new near-infrared Ks photometry of the interesting Galactic globular cluster NGC 6441. The optical-NIR color-magnitude diagram shows evolutionary features that seem to agree with a canonical evolutionary framework. The K-band Period-Luminosity-Metallicity relation of RR Lyrae stars gives a distance estimate of 15.51±0.07 that is slightly larger previous estimates.
We describe the scientific rationale and the preliminary optomechanical design for a 2 m class telescope designed to achieve ground layer correction over a ≈15 arcmin Field of View (FoV) to be located at the Dome-C site. The proposed science case is the detection of microlensing events in and by globular clusters and nearby galaxies that, for a high probability of success, requires exceptional seeing (≈0.2 arcsec or better) and a large target density (the centre of a globular cluster with a corresponding telescope FoV of ≈15 arcmin). This approach can capitalise on some of the unique qualities already observed above the Dome-C site, namely that the atmospheric turbulence is largely limited to a ground layer of small thickness only, a relatively low Greenwood frequency and uniterrupted sky coverage during the winter months for objects such as the globular cluster 47-Tuc. Further to the central science case of microlensing the telescope could provide a technological testbed for future telescopes and, given the unique atmospheric properties witnessed already during previous site testing compaigns, has the chance to provide a large amount of data (based on accurate and continuous light curves lasting several months) for fields of research outside that of microlensing. Details of the specific concepts of adaptive optics to be adopted for this telescope are outlined.
We present first results concerning the detection of variable stars in the Carina dwarf Spheroidal from B, V images collected with the 4-m CTIO telescope. We show a sample of candidate variables spanning from the tip of the Red Giant Branch down to the Main Sequence turn off. Finally, we discuss the future photometric and spectroscopic developments of this project.
We present U, B, V, I (SUSI@NTT) and J,Ks (SOFI@NTT) photometry of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) cluster Reticulum. The observing strategy and data reduction (DAOPHOTII/ALLFRAME) allowed us to reach an accuracy of the order of 0.01 – 0.03 mag in all the bands at limiting magnitudes typical of RR Lyrae stars. Reticulum hosts a sizable sample of RR Lyrae stars (32), and we supply an accurate distance estimate using the RR Lyrae K-band Period-Luminosity-Metallicity (PLZK) relation. This method presents several advantages when compared with the MV vs [Fe/H] relation, since it is only marginally affected by off-ZAHB evolutionary effects and reddening corrections.
We present the period-radius relations predicted by nonlinear convective models of Classical Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars. For the former variables we show that the metallicity effect is negligible for both fundamental and first overtone pulsators. This confirms the power of the period-radius relation to estimate Cepheid radii and in turn distances. For the latter class of variables we show that the dispersion of the period-radius relation of both fundamental and first overtone pulsators is significantly reduced once the metallicity dependence is taken into account. This provides a robust method to evaluate the radius of observed RR Lyrae with measured period and metal abundance.
We present the results of several numerical experiments aimed at testing the dependence of theoretical observables predicted by Cepheid hydrodynamical models on the equation of state (EOS). We focus our attention on nonlinear and time-dependent Cepheid convective models at solar chemical composition. We find that current predictions for both the blue and red edge of the instability strip present a mild dependence on the EOS. The same outcome applies to the morphology of the lightcurves.