An internal second-parameter problem in the sculptor dwarf spheroidal galaxy

S. R. Majewski, M. H. Siegel, Richard J. Patterson, R. T. Rood

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58 Scopus citations


We present BV photometry of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy to V = 22. These data give evidence for a bimodality in Sculptor's metallicity distribution based on a discontinuity in the luminosities of horizontal-branch (HB) stars and by the presence of two distinct red giant branch (RGB) bumps. A consistent picture of the evolved stars in Sculptor is given by the presence of (1) a metal-poor population of [Fe/H] ∼ -2.3 with an exclusively blue HB and that corresponds to the blueward side of the Sculptor RGB and the more luminous RGB bump, and (2) a less metal-poor population of [Fe/H] ∼ -1.5 required to explain the less luminous red HB, the red side of the RGB, and a second, less luminous RGB bump. Best fits to the HB populations are obtained with enhanced oxygen abundances, [O/Fe] ∼ +0.5. Variations in the global HB and RGB morphology of Sculptor can be explained by differences in the radial distribution of the two different [Fe/H] populations. The presence of these two populations shows that the Sculptor dwarf galaxy has an internal second-parameter problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L33-L36
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Jul 20 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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