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Where the Blue Stragglers Roam: Searching for a Link between Formation and Environment
The formation of blue stragglers is still not completely understood,particularly the relationship between formation environment andmechanism. We use a large, homogeneous sample of blue stragglers in thecores of 57 globular clusters to investigate the relationships betweenblue straggler populations and their environments. We use a consistentdefinition of ``blue straggler'' based on position in thecolor-magnitude diagram and normalize the population relative to thenumber of red giant branch stars in the core. We find that thepreviously determined anticorrelation between blue straggler frequencyand total cluster mass is present in the purely core population. We findsome weak anticorrelations with central velocity dispersion and withhalf-mass relaxation time. The blue straggler frequency does not showany trend with any other cluster parameter. Even though collisions maybe expected to be a dominant blue straggler formation process inglobular cluster cores, we find no correlation between the frequency ofblue stragglers and the collision rate in the core. We also investigatedthe blue straggler luminosity function shape and found no relationshipbetween any cluster parameter and the distribution of blue stragglers inthe color-magnitude diagram. Our results are inconsistent with somerecent models of blue straggler formation that include collisionalformation mechanisms and may suggest that almost all observed bluestragglers are formed in binary systems.

Relations between Interstellar medium tracers in galaxies
Aims.We study the relations existing between fluxes emitted at theCO(1-0) line, 60 and 100 μm wavelengths, and the B and soft X-raywavebands for galaxies of all morphological types. The large set of datathat we created allowed us to revisit some of the already knownrelations between the different tracers of the interstellar medium(ISM): the link between the FIR flux and the CO line emission, therelation between X-ray emission in non-active galaxies and the blue orFIR luminosity. Methods: Using both catalogues of galaxies and works inthe literature, we collected fluxes in the FIR, 21 cm, and CO(1-0) linesand in the soft X-ray for two samples, consisting of normal andinteracting galaxies, respectively. By joining these samples, we havedata for a total of 2953 galaxies, not all observed in these fourwavebands. Results: All the relations found are discussed in the frameof the star formation activity that is the link for most of them. Wenote that when an active star formation is present, it may link thegalaxy fluxes at almost all wavelengths, from X to microwaves. Incontrast, in early-type galaxies where the current star formation ratehas faded, the X-FIR fluxes link disappears. This result for early-typegalaxies is discussed and explained in detail in the frame of a suitabletheoretical model, obtained by coupling chemo-dynamical N-bodysimulations with a dusty spectrophotometric code of populationsynthesis.

Integrated-Light Two Micron All Sky Survey Infrared Photometry of Galactic Globular Clusters
We have mosaicked Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) images to derivesurface brightness profiles in J, H, and Ks for 104 Galacticglobular clusters. We fit these with King profiles and show that thecore radii are identical to within the errors for each of these IRcolors and are identical to the core radii at V in essentially allcases. We derive integrated-light colors V-J, V-H, V-Ks, J-H,and J-Ks for these globular clusters. Each color shows areasonably tight relation between the dereddened colors and metallicity.Fits to these are given for each color. The IR - IR colors have verysmall errors, due largely to the all-sky photometric calibration of the2MASS survey, while the V-IR colors have substantially largeruncertainties. We find fairly good agreement with measurements ofintegrated-light colors for a smaller sample of Galactic globularclusters by M. Aaronson, M. Malkan, and D. Kleinmann from 1977. Ourresults provide a calibration for the integrated light of distantsingle-burst old stellar populations from very low to solarmetallicities. A comparison of our dereddened measured colors withpredictions from several models of the integrated light of single-burstold populations shows good agreement in the low-metallicity domain forV-Ks colors but also shows an offset at a fixed [Fe/H] of~0.1 mag in J-Ks, which we ascribe to photometric systemtransformation issues. Some of the models fail to reproduce the behaviorof the integrated-light colors of the Galactic globular clusters nearsolar metallicity.

Multivariate analysis of globular cluster horizontal branch morphology: searching for the second parameter
Aims.The interpretation of globular cluster horizontal branch (HB)morphology is a classical problem that can significantly blur ourunderstanding of stellar populations. Methods: .We present a newmultivariate analysis connecting the effective temperature extent of theHB with other cluster parameters. The work is based on Hubble SpaceTelescope photometry of 54 Galactic globular clusters. Results: .The present study reveals the important role of the total mass of theglobular cluster on its HB morphology. More massive clusters tend tohave HBs more extended to higher temperatures. For a set of three inputvariables including the temperature extension of the HB, [Fe/H] and M_V,the first two eigenvectors account for 90% of the total samplevariance. Conclusions: . Possible effects of clusterself-pollution on HB morphology, stronger in more massive clusters,could explain the results derived here.

Globular cluster system and Milky Way properties revisited
Aims.Updated data of the 153 Galactic globular clusters are used toreaddress fundamental parameters of the Milky Way, such as the distanceof the Sun to the Galactic centre, the bulge and halo structuralparameters, and cluster destruction rates. Methods: .We build areduced sample that has been decontaminated of all the clusters youngerthan 10 Gyr and of those with retrograde orbits and/or evidence ofrelation to dwarf galaxies. The reduced sample contains 116 globularclusters that are tested for whether they were formed in the primordialcollapse. Results: .The 33 metal-rich globular clusters([Fe/H]≥-0.75) of the reduced sample basically extend to the Solarcircle and are distributed over a region with the projected axial-ratiostypical of an oblate spheroidal, Δ x:Δ y:Δz≈1.0:0.9:0.4. Those outside this region appear to be related toaccretion. The 81 metal-poor globular clusters span a nearly sphericalregion of axial-ratios ≈1.0:1.0:0.8 extending from the central partsto the outer halo, although several clusters in the external regionstill require detailed studies to unravel their origin as accretion orcollapse. A new estimate of the Sun's distance to the Galactic centre,based on the symmetries of the spatial distribution of 116 globularclusters, is provided with a considerably smaller uncertainty than inprevious determinations using globular clusters, R_O=7.2±0.3 kpc.The metal-rich and metal-poor radial-density distributions flatten forR_GC≤2 kpc and are represented well over the full Galactocentricdistance range both by a power-law with a core-like term andSérsic's law; at large distances they fall off as ˜R-3.9. Conclusions: .Both metallicity components appearto have a common origin that is different from that of the dark matterhalo. Structural similarities between the metal-rich and metal-poorradial distributions and the stellar halo are consistent with a scenariowhere part of the reduced sample was formed in the primordial collapseand part was accreted in an early period of merging. This applies to thebulge as well, suggesting an early merger affecting the central parts ofthe Galaxy. The present decontamination procedure is not sensitive toall accretions (especially prograde) during the first Gyr, since theobserved radial density profiles still preserve traces of the earliestmerger(s). We estimate that the present globular cluster populationcorresponds to ≤23±6% of the original one. The fact that thevolume-density radial distributions of the metal-rich and metal-poorglobular clusters of the reduced sample follow both a core-likepower-law, and Sérsic's law indicates that we are dealing withspheroidal subsystems at all scales.

Nearby Spiral Globular Cluster Systems. I. Luminosity Functions
We compare the near-infrared (JHK) globular cluster luminosity functions(GCLFs) of the Milky Way, M31, and the Sculptor Group spiral galaxies.We obtained near-infrared photometry with the Persson's AuxiliaryNasmyth Infrared Camera on the Baade Telescope for 38 objects (mostlyglobular cluster candidates) in the Sculptor Group. We also havenear-infrared photometry from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)-6Xdatabase for 360 M31 globular cluster candidates and aperture photometryfor 96 Milky Way globular cluster candidates from the 2MASS All-Sky andSecond Incremental Release databases. The M31 6X GCLFs peak at absolutereddening-corrected magnitudes of MJ0=-9.18,MH0=-9.73, and MK0=-9.98.The mean brightness of the Milky Way objects is consistent with that ofM31 after accounting for incompleteness. The average Sculptor absolutemagnitudes (correcting for relative distance from the literature andforeground reddening) are MJ0=-9.18,MH0=-9.70, and MK0=-9.80.NGC 300 alone has absolute foreground-dereddened magnitudesMJ0=-8.87, MH0=-9.39, andMK0=-9.46 using the newest Gieren et al. distance.This implies either that the NGC 300 GCLF may be intrinsically fainterthan that of the larger galaxy M31 or that NGC 300 may be slightlyfarther away than previously thought. Straightforward application of ourM31 GCLF results as a calibrator gives NGC 300 distance moduli of26.68+/-0.14 using J, 26.71+/-0.14 using H, and 26.89+/-0.14 using K.Data for this project were obtained at the Baade 6.5 m telescope, LasCampanas Observatory, Chile.

RR Lyrae-based calibration of the Globular Cluster Luminosity Function
We test whether the peak absolute magnitude MV(TO) of theGlobular Cluster Luminosity Function (GCLF) can be used for reliableextragalactic distance determination. Starting with the luminosityfunction of the Galactic Globular Clusters listed in Harris catalogue,we determine MV(TO) either using current calibrations of theabsolute magnitude MV(RR) of RR Lyrae stars as a function ofthe cluster metal content [Fe/H] and adopting selected cluster samples.We show that the peak magnitude is slightly affected by the adoptedMV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation, with the exception of that based onthe revised Baade-Wesselink method, while it depends on the criteria toselect the cluster sample. Moreover, grouping the Galactic GlobularClusters by metallicity, we find that the metal-poor (MP) ([Fe/H]<-1.0, <[Fe/H]>~-1.6) sample shows peak magnitudes systematicallybrighter by about 0.36mag than those of the metal-rich (MR) ([Fe/H]>-1.0, (<[Fe/H]>~-0.6) one, in substantial agreement with thetheoretical metallicity effect suggested by synthetic Globular Clusterpopulations with constant age and mass function. Moving outside theMilky Way, we show that the peak magnitude of the MP clusters in M31appears to be consistent with that of Galactic clusters with similarmetallicity, once the same MV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation is used fordistance determination. As for the GCLFs in other external galaxies,using Surface Brightness Fluctuations (SBF) measurements we giveevidence that the luminosity functions of the blue (MP) GlobularClusters peak at the same luminosity within ~0.2mag, whereas for the red(MR) samples the agreement is within ~0.5mag even accounting for thetheoretical metallicity correction expected for clusters with similarages and mass distributions. Then, using the SBF absolute magnitudesprovided by a Cepheid distance scale calibrated on a fiducial distanceto Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), we show that the MV(TO)value of the MP clusters in external galaxies is in excellent agreementwith the value of both Galactic and M31 ones, as inferred by an RR Lyraedistance scale referenced to the same LMC fiducial distance. Eventually,adopting μ0(LMC) = 18.50mag, we derive that the luminosityfunction of MP clusters in the Milky Way, M31, and external galaxiespeak at MV(TO) =-7.66 +/- 0.11, - 7.65 +/- 0.19 and -7.67 +/-0.23mag, respectively. This would suggest a value of -7.66 +/- 0.09mag(weighted mean), with any modification of the LMC distance modulusproducing a similar variation of the GCLF peak luminosity.

Resolved Massive Star Clusters in the Milky Way and Its Satellites: Brightness Profiles and a Catalog of Fundamental Parameters
We present a database of structural and dynamical properties for 153spatially resolved star clusters in the Milky Way, the Large and SmallMagellanic Clouds, and the Fornax dwarf spheroidal. This databasecomplements and extends others in the literature, such as those ofHarris and Mackey & Gilmore. Our cluster sample comprises 50 ``youngmassive clusters'' in the LMC and SMC, and 103 old globular clustersbetween the four galaxies. The parameters we list include central andhalf-light-averaged surface brightnesses and mass densities; core andeffective radii; central potentials, concentration parameters, and tidalradii; predicted central velocity dispersions and escape velocities;total luminosities, masses, and binding energies; central phase-spacedensities; half-mass relaxation times; and ``κ-space'' parameters.We use publicly available population-synthesis models to computestellar-population properties (intrinsic B-V colors, reddenings, andV-band mass-to-light ratios) for the same 153 clusters plus another 63globulars in the Milky Way. We also take velocity-dispersionmeasurements from the literature for a subset of 57 (mostly old)clusters to derive dynamical mass-to-light ratios for them, showing thatthese compare very well to the population-synthesis predictions. Thecombined data set is intended to serve as the basis for futureinvestigations of structural correlations and the fundamental plane ofmassive star clusters, including especially comparisons between thesystemic properties of young and old clusters.The structural and dynamical parameters are derived from fitting threedifferent models-the modified isothermal sphere of King; an alternatemodified isothermal sphere based on the ad hoc stellar distributionfunction of Wilson; and asymptotic power-law models withconstant-density cores-to the surface-brightness profile of eachcluster. Surface-brightness data for the LMC, SMC, and Fornax clustersare based in large part on the work of Mackey & Gilmore, but includesignificant supplementary data culled from the literature and importantcorrections to Mackey & Gilmore's V-band magnitude scale. Theprofiles of Galactic globular clusters are taken from Trager et al. Weaddress the question of which model fits each cluster best, finding inthe majority of cases that the Wilson models-which are spatially moreextended than King models but still include a finite, ``tidal'' cutoffin density-fit clusters of any age, in any galaxy, as well as or betterthan King models. Untruncated, asymptotic power laws often fit about aswell as Wilson models but can be significantly worse. We argue that theextended halos known to characterize many Magellanic Cloud clusters maybe examples of the generic envelope structure of self-gravitating starclusters, not just transient features associated strictly with youngage.

A Library of Integrated Spectra of Galactic Globular Clusters
We present a new library of integrated spectra of 40 Galactic globularclusters, obtained with the Blanco 4 m telescope and the R-Cspectrograph at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The spectracover the range ~3350-6430 Å with ~3.1 Å (FWHM) resolution.The spectroscopic observations and data reduction were designed tointegrate the full projected area within the cluster core radii in orderto properly sample the light from stars in all relevant evolutionarystages. The S/N values of the flux-calibrated spectra range from 50 to240 Å-1 at 4000 Å and from 125 to 500Å-1 at 5000 Å. The selected targets span a widerange of cluster parameters, including metallicity, horizontal-branchmorphology, Galactic coordinates, Galactocentric distance, andconcentration. The total sample is thus fairly representative of theentire Galactic globular cluster population and should be valuable forcomparison with similar integrated spectra of unresolved stellarpopulations in remote systems. For most of the library clusters, ourspectra can be coupled with deep color-magnitude diagrams and reliablemetal abundances from the literature to enable the calibration ofstellar population synthesis models. In this paper we present a detailedaccount of the observations and data reduction. The spectral library ispublicly available in electronic format from the National OpticalAstronomical Observatory Web site.

Galactic Globular Cluster Relative Ages
We present accurate relative ages for a sample of 55 Galactic globularclusters. The ages have been obtained by measuring the differencebetween the horizontal branch and the turnoff in two internallyphotometrically homogeneous databases. The mutual consistency of the twodata sets has been assessed by comparing the ages of 16 globularclusters in common between the two databases. We have also investigatedthe consistency of our relative age determination within the recentstellar model framework. All clusters with [Fe/H]<-1.7 are found tobe old and coeval, with the possible exception of two objects, which aremarginally younger. The age dispersion for the metal-poor clusters is0.6 Gyr (rms), consistent with a null age dispersion.Intermediate-metallicity clusters (-1.7<[Fe/H]<-0.8) are onaverage 1.5 Gyr younger than the metal-poor ones, with an age dispersionof 1.0 Gyr (rms) and a total age range of ~3 Gyr. About 15% of theintermediate-metallicity clusters are coeval with the oldest clusters.All the clusters with [Fe/H]>-0.8 are ~1 Gyr younger than the mostmetal-poor ones, with a relatively small age dispersion, although themetal-rich sample is still too small to allow firmer conclusions. Thereis no correlation of the cluster age with the galactocentric distance.We briefly discuss the implication of these observational results forthe formation history of the Galaxy.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS 5-26555, and on observations made at the European SouthernObservatory, La Silla, Chile, and with the Isaac Newton GroupTelescopes.

On the origin of the radial mass density profile of the Galactic halo globular cluster system
We investigate what may be the origin of the presently observed spatialdistribution of the mass of the Galactic Old Halo globular clustersystem. We propose its radial mass density profile to be a relic of thedistribution of the cold baryonic material in the protogalaxy. Assumingthat this one arises from the profile of the whole protogalaxy minus thecontribution of the dark matter (and a small contribution of the hot gasby which the protoglobular clouds were bound), we show that the massdistributions around the Galactic centre of this cold gas and of the OldHalo agree satisfactorily. In order to demonstrate our hypothesis evenmore conclusively, we simulate the evolution with time, up to an age of15Gyr, of a putative globular cluster system whose initial massdistribution in the Galactic halo follows the profile of the coldprotogalactic gas. We show that beyond a galactocentric distance oforder 2-3kpc, the initial shape of such a mass density profile ispreserved despite the complete destruction of some globular clusters andthe partial evaporation of some others. This result is almostindependent of the choice of the initial mass function for the globularclusters, which is still ill determined. The shape of these evolvedcluster system mass density profiles also agrees with the presentlyobserved profile of the Old Halo globular cluster system, thusstrengthening our hypothesis. Our result might suggest that theflattening shown by the Old Halo mass density profile at short distancesfrom the Galactic centre is, at least partly, of primordial origin.

Comparing the properties of local globular cluster systems: implications for the formation of the Galactic halo
We investigate the hypothesis that some fraction of the globularclusters presently observed in the Galactic halo formed in externaldwarf galaxies. This is done by means of a detailed comparison betweenthe `old halo', `young halo' and `bulge/disc' subsystems defined by Zinnand the globular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud, SmallMagellanic Cloud, and Fornax and Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxies.We first use high-quality photometry from Hubble Space Telescope imagesto derive a complete set of uniform measurements of horizontal branch(HB) morphology in the external clusters. We also compile structural andmetallicity measurements for these objects and update the data base ofsuch measurements for the Galactic globular clusters, including newcalculations of HB morphology for 11 objects. Using these data togetherwith recent measurements of globular cluster kinematics and ages weexamine the characteristics of the three Galactic cluster subsystems.Each is quite distinct in terms of their spatial and age distributions,age-metallicity relationships, and typical orbital parameters, althoughwe observe some old halo clusters with ages and orbits more similar tothose of young halo objects. In addition, almost all of the Galacticglobular clusters with large core radii fall into the young halosubsystem, while the old halo and bulge/disc ensembles are characterizedby compact clusters. We demonstrate that the majority of the externalglobular clusters are essentially indistinguishable from the Galacticyoung halo objects in terms of HB morphology, but ~20-30 per cent ofexternal clusters have HB morphologies most similar to the Galactic oldhalo clusters. We further show that the external clusters have adistribution of core radii which very closely matches that for the younghalo objects. The old halo distribution of core radii can be very wellrepresented by a composite distribution formed from ~83-85 per cent ofobjects with structures typical of bulge/disc clusters, and ~15-17 percent of objects with structures typical of external clusters. Takentogether our results fully support the accretion hypothesis. We concludethat all 30 young halo clusters and 15-17 per cent of the old haloclusters (10-12 objects) are of external origin. Based on cluster numbercounts, we estimate that the Galaxy may have experienced approximatelyseven merger events with cluster-bearing dwarf-spheroidal-type galaxiesduring its lifetime, building up ~45-50 per cent of the mass of theGalactic stellar halo. Finally, we identify a number of old halo objectswhich have properties characteristic of accreted clusters. Several ofthe clusters associated with the recently proposed dwarf galaxy in CanisMajor fall into this category.

Ages and metallicities of star clusters: New calibrations and diagnostic diagrams from visible integrated spectra
We present homogeneous scales of ages and metallicities for starclusters from very young objects, through intermediate-age ones up tothe oldest known clusters. All the selected clusters have integratedspectra in the visible range, as well as reliable determinations oftheir ages and metallicities. From these spectra equivalent widths (EWs)of K Ca II, G band (CH) and Mg I metallic, and Hδ, Hγ andHβ Balmer lines have been measured homogeneously. The analysis ofthese EWs shows that the EW sums of the metallic and Balmer H lines,separately, are good indicators of cluster age for objects younger than10 Gyr, and that the former is also sensitive to cluster metallicity forages greater than 10 Gyr. We propose an iterative procedure forestimating cluster ages by employing two new diagnostic diagrams and agecalibrations based on the above EW sums. For clusters older than 10 Gyr,we also provide a calibration to derive their overall metal contents.

The initial helium abundance of the Galactic globular cluster system
In this paper we estimate the initial He content in about 30% of theGalactic globular clusters (GGCs) from new star counts we have performedon the recently published HST snapshot database of Colour MagnitudeDiagrams (Piotto et al. \cite{Piotto02}). More specifically, we use theso-called R-parameter and estimate the He content from a theoreticalcalibration based on a recently updated set of stellar evolution models.We performed an accurate statistical analysis in order to assess whetherGGCs show a statistically significant spread in their initial Heabundances, and whether there is a correlation with the clustermetallicity. As in previous works on the subject, we do not find anysignificant dependence of the He abundance on the cluster metallicity;this provides an important constraint for models of Galaxy formation andevolution. Apart from GGCs with the bluest Horizontal Branch morphology,the observed spread in the individual helium abundances is statisticallycompatible with the individual errors. This means that either there isno intrinsic abundance spread among the GGCs, or that this is masked bythe errors. In the latter case we have estimated a firm 1σ upperlimit of 0.019 to the possible intrinsic spread. In case of the GGCswith the bluest Horizontal Branch morphology we detect a significantspread towards higher abundances inconsistent with the individualerrors; this can be fully explained by additional effects not accountedfor in our theoretical calibrations, which do not affect the abundancesestimated for the clusters with redder Horizontal Branch morphology. Inthe hypothesis that the intrinsic dispersion on the individual Heabundances is zero, taking into account the errors on the individualR-parameter estimates, as well as the uncertainties on the clustermetallicity scale and theoretical calibration, we have determined aninitial He abundance mass fraction YGGC=0.250±0.006.This value is in perfect agreement with current estimates based onCosmic Microwave Background radiation analyses and cosmologicalnucleosynthesis computations.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA,Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved withthe ESO ST-ECF Archive.

Relative Frequencies of Blue Stragglers in Galactic Globular Clusters: Constraints for the Formation Mechanisms
We discuss the main properties of the Galactic globular cluster (GC)blue straggler stars (BSSs), as inferred from our new catalog containingnearly 3000 BSSs. The catalog has been extracted from thephotometrically homogeneous V versus (B-V) color-magnitude diagrams(CMDs) of 56 GCs, based on Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 images of theircentral cores. In our analysis, we used consistent relative distancesbased on the same photometry and calibration. The number of BSSs hasbeen normalized to obtain relative frequencies (FBSS) andspecific densities (NS) using different stellar populationsextracted from the CMD. The cluster FBSS is significantlysmaller than the relative frequency of field BSSs. We find a significantanticorrelation between the BSS relative frequency in a cluster and itstotal absolute luminosity (mass). There is no statistically significanttrend between the BSS frequency and the expected collision rate. Thevalue of FBSS does not depend on other cluster parameters,apart from a mild dependence on the central density. Post-core-collapseclusters act like normal clusters as far as the BSS frequency isconcerned. We also show that the BSS luminosity function for the mostluminous clusters is significantly different, with a brighter peak andextending to brighter luminosities than in the less luminous clusters.These results imply that the efficiency of BSS production mechanisms andtheir relative importance vary with the cluster mass.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS 5-26555.

On the origin of red giant depletion through low-velocity collisions
We investigate a means of explaining the apparent paucity of red giantstars within post-core-collapse globular clusters. We propose thatcollisions between the red giants and binary systems can lead to thedestruction of some proportion of the red giant population, by eitherknocking out the core of the red giant or by forming a common envelopesystem which will lead to the dissipation of the red giant envelope.Treating the red giant as two point masses, one for the core and anotherfor the envelope (with an appropriate force law to take account of thedistribution of mass), and the components of the binary system alsotreated as point masses, we utilize a four-body code to calculate thetime-scales on which the collisions will occur. We then perform a seriesof smooth particle hydrodynamics runs to examine the details of masstransfer within the system. In addition, we show that collisions betweensingle stars and red giants lead to the formation of a common envelopesystem which will destroy the red giant star. We find that low-velocitycollision between binary systems and red giants can lead to thedestruction of up to 13 per cent of the red giant population. This couldhelp to explain the colour gradients observed in PCC globular clusters.We also find that there is the possibility that binary systems formedthrough both sorts of collision could eventually come into contactperhaps producing a population of cataclysmic variables.

The Red Giant Branch luminosity function bump
We present observational estimates of the magnitude difference betweenthe luminosity function red giant branch bump and the horizontal branch(Delta F555WbumpHB), and of star counts in thebump region (Rbump), for a sample of 54 Galactic globularclusters observed by the HST. The large sample of stars resolved in eachcluster, and the high photometric accuracy of the data allowed us todetect the bump also in a number of metal poor clusters. To reduce thephotometric uncertainties, empirical values are compared withtheoretical predictions obtained from a set of updated canonical stellarevolution models which have been transformed directly into the HSTflight system. We found an overall qualitative agreement between theoryand observations. Quantitative estimates of the confidence level arehampered by current uncertainties on the globular cluster metallicityscale, and by the strong dependence of DeltaF555WbumpHB on the cluster metallicity. In case ofthe Rbump parameter, which is only weakly affected by themetallicity, we find a very good quantitative agreement betweentheoretical canonical models and observations. For our full clustersample the average difference between predicted and observedRbump values is practically negligible, and ranges from-0.002 to -0.028, depending on the employed metallicity scale. Theobserved dispersion around these values is entirely consistent with theobservational errors on Rbump. As a comparison, the value ofRbump predicted by theory in case of spurious bump detectionsdue to Poisson noise in the stellar counts would be ~ 0.10 smaller thanthe observed ones. We have also tested the influence on the predictedDelta F555WbumpHB and Rbump values ofan He-enriched component in the cluster stellar population, as recentlysuggested by D'Antona et al. (\cite{d02}). We find that, underreasonable assumptions concerning the size of this He-enrichedpopulation and the degree of enrichment, the predicted DeltaF555WbumpHB and Rbump values are onlymarginally affected.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA,Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved withthe ESO ST-ECF Archive.

Globular Clusters as Candidates for Gravitational Lenses to Explain Quasar-Galaxy Associations
We argue that globular clusters (GCs) are good candidates forgravitational lenses in explaining quasar-galaxy associations. Thecatalog of associations (Bukhmastova 2001) compiled from the LEDAcatalog of galaxies (Paturel 1997) and from the catalog of quasars(Veron-Cetty and Veron 1998) is used. Based on the new catalog, we showthat one might expect an increased number of GCs around irregulargalaxies of types 9 and 10 from the hypothesis that distant compactsources are gravitationally lensed by GCs in the halos of foregroundgalaxies. The King model is used to determine the central surfacedensities of 135 GCs in the Milky Way. The distribution of GCs incentral surface density was found to be lognormal.

Does the mixing length parameter depend on metallicity?. Further tests of evolutionary sequences using homogeneous databases
This paper is a further step in the investigation of the morphology ofthe color-magnitude diagram of Galactic globular clusters, and thefine-tuning of theoretical models, made possible by the recentobservational efforts to build homogeneous photometric databases. Inparticular, we examine here the calibration of the morphologicalparameter WHB vs. metallicity, originally proposed by Brocatoet al. (\cite{brocatoEtal98}; B98), which essentially measures the colorposition of the red-giant branch. We show that the parameter can be usedto have a first-order estimate of the cluster metallicity, since thedispersion around the mean trend with [Fe/H] is compatible with themeasurement errors. The tight WHB-[Fe/H] relation is thenused to show that variations in helium content or age do not affect theparameter, whereas it is strongly influenced by the mixing-lengthparameter alpha (as expected). This fact allows us, for the first time,to state that there is no trend of alpha with the metal content of acluster. A thorough examination of the interrelated questions of thealpha -elements enhancement and the color-Tefftransformations, highlights that there is an urgent need for anindependent assessment of which of the two presently acceptedmetallicity scales is the true indicator of a cluster's iron content.Whatever scenario is adopted, it also appears that a deep revision ofthe V-I-temperature relations is needed.

HST color-magnitude diagrams of 74 galactic globular clusters in the HST F439W and F555W bands
We present the complete photometric database and the color-magnitudediagrams for 74 Galactic globular clusters observed with the HST/WFPC2camera in the F439W and F555W bands. A detailed discussion of thevarious reduction steps is also presented, and of the procedures totransform instrumental magnitudes into both the HST F439W and F555Wflight system and the standard Johnson ( B ) and ( V ) systems. We alsodescribe the artificial star experiments which have been performed toderive the star count completeness in all the relevant branches of thecolor magnitude diagram. The entire photometric database and thecompleteness function will be made available on the Web immediatelyafter the publication of the present paper. Based on observations withthe NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space TelescopeScience Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contractNAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved from the ESO ST-ECF Archive.

Search for star clusters close to the Galactic plane with DENIS
An automated search for star clusters close to the Galactic plane (|b|< 5o) was carried out on the Point Source Catalogue of theDENIS survey. 44% of the Galactic plane have been observed andcalibrated. The method allowed to retrieve 22 known star clusters and toidentify two new ones, not published yet although previously presentedin the 2MASS web site as embedded clusters in HII regions. Extinction inthe field and in front of the clusters are estimated using a model ofpopulation synthesis. We present the method and give the properties ofthese clusters. Based on observations collected at ESO La Silla.

Variable Stars in Galactic Globular Clusters
Based on a search of the literature up to 2001 May, the number of knownvariable stars in Galactic globular clusters is approximately 3000. Ofthese, more than 2200 have known periods and the majority (approximately1800) are of the RR Lyrae type. In addition to the RR Lyrae population,there are approximately 100 eclipsing binaries, 120 SX Phoenicisvariables, 60 Cepheids (including Population II Cepheids, anomalousCepheids and RV Tauri), and 120 SR/red variables. The mean period of thefundamental mode RR Lyrae variables is 0.585 days, for the overtonevariables it is 0.342 days (0.349 days for the first-overtone pulsatorsand 0.296 days for the second-overtone pulsators) and approximately 30%are overtone pulsators. These numbers indicate that about 65% of RRLyrae variables in Galactic globular clusters belong to Oosterhoff typeI systems. The mean period of the RR Lyrae variables in the Oosterhofftype I clusters seems to be correlated with metal abundance in the sensethat the periods are longer in the more metal poor clusters. Such acorrelation does not exist for the Oosterhoff type II clusters. Most ofthe Cepheids are in clusters with blue horizontal branches.

Do Globular Clusters Harbor Black Holes?
It has been firmly established that there exists a tight correlationbetween the mass of the central black hole and velocity dispersion (orluminosity) in elliptical galaxies, ``pseudobulges'' and bulges ofgalaxies, although the nature of this correlation still remains unclear.We explore the possibility of extrapolating such a correlation to lessmassive, spherical systems like globular clusters. In particular,motivated by the apparent success in the globular cluster M15, wepresent an estimate of the central black hole mass for a number ofglobular clusters with available velocity dispersion data.

Star Counts across the Red Giant Branch Bump and Below
We present a new observable-Rbump-which is the ratio betweenthe star counts across the red giant branch (RGB) bump and fainter RGBstars to investigate the occurrence of a deep-mixing phenomenon duringthese evolutionary phases. The comparison between predicted andempirical Rbump-values, based on a large and homogeneous setof Hubble Space Telescope data, brings out that evolutionary lifetimespredicted by canonical RGB models do account for the bulk of Galacticglobular clusters included in our sample (29). This evidence suggeststhat bump and fainter RGB stars do not show the occurrence of deepmixing, which significantly changes their chemical stratification. A fewpossible exceptions to this general rule are briefly discussed. Based onobservations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at theSpace Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc.,under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved from theESO ST-ECF archive.

Globular Cluster Subsystems in the Galaxy
Data from the literature are used to construct a homogeneous catalog offundamental astrophysical parameters for 145 globular clusters of theMilky Way Galaxy. The catalog is used to analyze the relationshipsbetween chemical composition, horizontal-branch morphology, spatiallocation, orbital elements, age, and other physical parameters of theclusters. The overall globular-cluster population is divided by a gap inthe metallicity function at [Fe/H]=-1.0 into two discrete groups withwell-defined maxima at [Fe/H]=-1.60±0.03 and -0.60±0.04.The mean spatial-kinematic parameters and their dispersions changeabruptly when the metallicity crosses this boundary. Metal-poor clustersoccupy a more or less spherical region and are concentrated toward theGalactic center. Metal-rich clusters (the thick disk subsystem), whichare far fewer in number, are concentrated toward both the Galacticcenter and the Galactic plane. This subsystem rotates with an averagevelocity of V rot=165±28 km/s and has a very steep negativevertical metallicity gradient and a negligible radial gradient. It is,on average, the youngest group, and consists exclusively of clusterswith extremely red horizontal branches. The population ofspherical-subsystem clusters is also inhomogeneous and, in turn, breaksup into at least two groups according to horizontal-branch morphology.Clusters with extremely blue horizontal branches occupy a sphericalvolume of radius ˜9 kpc, have high rotational velocities (Vrot=77±33 km/s), have substantial and equal negative radial andvertical metallicity gradients, and are, on average, the oldest group(the old-halo subsystem). The vast majority of clusters withintermediate-type horizontal branches occupy a more or less sphericalvolume ≈18 kpc in radius, which is slightly flattened perpendicularto the Z direction and makes an angle of ≈30° to the X-axis. Onaverage, this population is somewhat younger than the old-halo clusters(the young-halo subsystem), and exhibits approximately the samemetallicity gradients as the old halo. As a result, since theirGalactocentric distance and distance from the Galactic plane are thesame, the young-halo clusters have metallicities that are, on average,Δ[Fe/H] ≈0.3 higher than those for old-halo clusters. Theyoung-halo subsystem, which apparently consists of objects captured bythe Galaxy at various times, contains many clusters with retrogradeorbits, so that its rotational velocity is low and has large errors, Vrot=-23±54 km/s. Typical parameters are derived for all thesubsystems, and the mean characteristics of their member globularclusters are determined. The thick disk has a different nature than boththe old and young halos. A scenario for Galactic evolution is proposedbased on the assumption that only the thick-disk and old-halo subsystemsare genetically associated with the Galaxy. The age distributions ofthese two subsystems do not overlap. It is argued that heavy-elementenrichment and the collapse of the proto-Galactic medium occurred mainlyin the period between the formation of the old-halo and thick-disksubsystems.

On the Helium Content of Galactic Globular Clusters via the R-Parameter
We estimate the empirical R-parameter in 26 Galactic globular clusterscovering a wide metallicity range, imaged by Wide Field Planetary Camera2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The improved spatial resolutionpermits a large fraction of evolved stars to be measured and permitsaccurate assessment of radial population gradients and completenesscorrections. In order to evaluate both the He abundance and theHe-to-metal enrichment ratio, we construct a large set of evolutionarymodels by adopting similar metallicities and different He contents. Wefind an absolute He abundance that is lower than that estimated fromspectroscopic measurements in H II regions and from primordialnucleosynthesis models. This discrepancy could be removed by adopting a12C(α,γ)16O nuclear cross sectionabout a factor of 2 smaller than the canonical value, although differentassumptions for mixing processes also can introduce systematic effects.The trend in the R-parameter toward solar metallicity is consistent withan upper limit to the He-to-metal enrichment ratio of the order of 2.5.Detailed calculations of central He burning times as a function of thehorizontal-branch (HB) morphology suggest that He lifetimes for hot HBstars are on average ~20% longer than for RR Lyrae and red HB stars.Therefore, the increase in the empirical R-values of metal-poor clusterscharacterized by blue HB morphologies is due to an increase in the HBlifetime and not due to an increase in the He abundance. Based onobservations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at theSpace Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc.,under NASA contract NAS 5-26555, and on observations retrieved from theESO ST-ECF archive.

Foreground and background dust in star cluster directions
This paper compares reddening values E(B-V) derived from the stellarcontent of 103 old open clusters and 147 globular clusters of the MilkyWay with those derived from DIRBE/IRAS 100 mu m dust emission in thesame directions. Star clusters at |b|> 20deg showcomparable reddening values between the two methods, in agreement withthe fact that most of them are located beyond the disk dust layer. Forvery low galactic latitude lines of sight, differences occur in thesense that DIRBE/IRAS reddening values can be substantially larger,suggesting effects due to the depth distribution of the dust. Thedifferences appear to arise from dust in the background of the clustersconsistent with a dust layer where important extinction occurs up todistances from the Plane of ~ 300 pc. For 3 % of the sample asignificant background dust contribution might be explained by higherdust clouds. We find evidence that the Milky Way dust lane and higherdust clouds are similar to those of several edge-on spiral galaxiesrecently studied in detail by means of CCD imaging.

Calibration of the Faber--Jackson relation for M31 globular clusters using HIPPARCOS data
In this paper we present data analysis regarding globular clusters aspossible extragalactic distance indicators. For this purpose, wecollected all velocity dispersion measurements published for Galacticand M31 globular clusters. The slope and zero-point of theFaber--Jackson relation were calibrated using Hipparcos distancemeasurements, and the relation was applied to extragalactic globularclusters in M31. A distance modulus of 24.12 +/- 0.45 mag was found.This is consistent with those found by fitting the red giant branches ofglobular clusters (24.47 +/- 0.07) and from the peak of the globularcluster luminosity function (24.03 +/- 0.23), but is lower than thevalues of 24.84 +/- 0.2 mag and 24.77 +/- 0.11 mag obtained by usingHipparcos data to calibrate the Cepheid period--luminosity relation.This calibrated Faber--Jackson relation can now be used directly forother Sc galaxies with resolved globular clusters, as soon as largenumbers of spectra become available, e.g. through the Very LargeTelescope (VLT).

Core velocity dispersions for 25 Galactic and 10 old Magellanic globular clusters.
We present, for 25 Galactic and 10 old Magellanic globular clusters,projected velocity dispersion (σ_p_) measurements obtained byapplying a cross-correlation technique to integrated-light spectra. Inorder to understand and estimate the statistical errors of thesemeasurements due to small numbers of bright stars dominating theintegrated light, we provide an extensive discussion based on detailednumerical simulations. These errors are smaller if the integration areais larger and/or the cluster concentration higher. The simulations showthat measurements are reliable when the integrated light within theintegration area is brighter than a given magnitude. The statisticalerrors on the σ_p_ measurements of Magellanic globular clustersare small because of a physically large integration area, whereas theycan be important for measurements carried out over small central areasin Galactic clusters. The present observational results are used tooutline a few characteristics of the globular cluster fundamental plane.In this respect, the old Magellanic globular clusters appear similar tothe Galactic clusters.

Gravitational mesolensing by King objects and quasar-galaxy associations
The probability of strong gravitational lensing of distant compactobjects by transparent lenses with King mass distributions iscalculated. Examples of such lenses are globular clusters, dwarfgalaxies, and clusters of hidden mass. The lens masses thus range from10^3 to 10^9 M_solar, intermediate between stellar and galactic masses.Taking account of the conic caustic of King lenses and the fractallarge-scale distribution of matter along the line of sight, it ispossible to explain the correlation between quasars and nearby galaxiesas the effect of strong gravitational lensing of the active nuclei ofdistant galaxies by globular clusters in the halos of nearby galaxies.Observational tests for verifying this mesolensing hypothesis aredescribed.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:15h35m28.58s
Apparent magnitude:9.6

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NGC 2000.0NGC 5946

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