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Kinematic Decoupling of Globular Clusters with the Extended Horizontal Branch
About 25% of the Milky Way globular clusters (GCs) exhibit unusuallyextended color distribution of stars in the core helium-burninghorizontal-branch (HB) phase. This phenomenon is now best understood asdue to the presence of helium-enhanced second-generation subpopulations,which has raised the possibility that these peculiar GCs might have aunique origin. Here we show that these GCs with extended HB are clearlydistinct from other normal GCs in kinematics and mass. The GCs withextended HB are more massive than normal GCs and are dominated by randommotion with no correlation between kinematics and metallicity.Surprisingly, however, when they are excluded, most normal GCs in theinner halo show clear signs of dissipational collapse that apparentlyled to the formation of the disk. Normal GCs in the outer halo sharetheir kinematic properties with the extended HB GCs, which is consistentwith the accretion origin. Our result further suggests heterogeneousorigins of GCs, and we anticipate this to be a starting point for moredetailed investigations of Milky Way formation, including early mergers,collapse, and later accretion.

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.

Integrated colours of Milky Way globular clusters and horizontal branch morphology
Broadband colours are often used as metallicity proxies in the study ofextragalactic globular clusters. A common concern is the effect ofvariations in horizontal branch (HB) morphology - the second-parametereffect - on such colours. We have used U BV I, Washington, and DDOphotometry for a compilation of over 80 Milky Way globular clusters toaddress this question. Our method is to fit linear relations betweencolour and [Fe/H], and study the correlations between the residualsabout these fits and two quantitative measures of HB morphology. Whilethere is a significant HB effect seen in U-B, for the commonly usedcolours B-V, V-I, and C-T_1, the deviations from the baselinecolour-[Fe/H] relations are less strongly related to HB morphology.There may be weak signatures in B-V and C-T_1, but these are at thelimit of observational uncertainties. The results may favour the use ofB-I in studies of extragalactic globular clusters, especially when itshigh [Fe/H]-sensitivity is considered.

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.

The Orbits of 48 Globular Clusters in a Milky Way-like Barred Galaxy
The effect of a barred potential (such as the one of the Milky Way) onthe Galactic orbits of 48 globular clusters for which absolute propermotions are known is studied. The orbital characteristics are comparedwith those obtained for the case of an axisymmetric Galactic potential.Tidal radii are computed and discussed for both the better knownaxisymmetric case and that including a bar. The destruction rates due tobulge and disk shocking are calculated and compared in both Galacticpotentials.

Deep near-IR photometry of eight metal-poor globular clusters in the Galactic bulge and halo
High quality J, H and K' images are used to investigate themorphological properties of the near-infrared color-magnitude diagramsfor five metal-poor bulge globular clusters and three halo clusters.Photometric parameters to describe the RGB shape, i.e., the colors atfixed magnitudes of M_K=M_H=(-5.5, -5, -4 and -3), the magnitudes atfixed colors of (J-K)o = (J-H)o = 0.70, and theRGB slope, have been measured from the fiducial normal points of theCMDs. We also measured the near-infrared magnitudes of the RGB bump andtip on the luminosity function of the RGB stars for each cluster. TheRGB parameters of the observed metal-poor bulge and halo clusters areconsistent with the previous empirical relationships between the RGBparameters and the cluster metallicity for metal-rich bulge clusters andhalo clusters. The near-infrared magnitudes of the RGB bump and tip arein good agreement with the theoretical prediction of the Yonsei-Yaleisochrone.

Global fitting of globular cluster age indicators
Context: .Stellar models and the methods for the age determinations ofglobular clusters are still in need of improvement. Aims: .Weattempt to obtain a more objective method of age determination based oncluster diagrams, avoiding the introduction of biases due to thepreference of one single age indicator. Methods: .We compute newstellar evolutionary tracks and derive the dependence of age indicatingpoints along the tracks and isochrone - such as the turn-off or bumplocation - as a function of age and metallicity. The same criticalpoints are identified in the colour-magnitude diagrams of globularclusters from a homogeneous database. Several age indicators are thenfitted simultaneously, and the overall best-fitting isochrone isselected to determine the cluster age. We also determine thegoodness-of-fit for different sets of indicators to estimate theconfidence level of our results. Results: .We find that ourisochrones provide no acceptable fit for all age indicators. Inparticular, the location of the bump and the brightness of the tip ofthe red giant branch are problematic. On the other hand, the turn-offregion is very well reproduced, and restricting the method to indicatorsdepending on it results in trustworthy ages. Using an alternative set ofisochrones improves the situation, but neither leads to an acceptableglobal fit. Conclusions: .We conclude that evolutionary tracks oflow-mass metal-poor stars are far from reproducing all aspects ofglobular cluster colour-magnitude diagrams and that the determination ofcluster ages still depends on the favourite method or indicator chosen.

The QUEST RR Lyrae Survey. II. The Halo Overdensities in the First Catalog
The first catalog of the RR Lyrae stars (RRLSs) in the Galactic halo bythe Quasar Equatorial Survey Team (QUEST) has been searched forsignificant overdensities that may be debris from disrupted dwarfgalaxies or globular clusters. These RRLSs are contained in a band ~2.3dwide in declination that spans ~165° in right ascension and lie ~4to ~60 kpc from the Sun. Away from the major overdensities, thedistribution of these stars is adequately fitted by a smooth halo model,in which the flattening of the halo decreases with increasinggalactocentric distance (as reported by Preston et al.). This model wasused to estimate the ``background'' of RRLSs on which the halooverdensities are overlaid. A procedure was developed for recognizinggroups of stars that constitute significant overdensities with respectto this background. To test this procedure, a Monte Carlo routine wasused to make artificial RRLS surveys that follow the smooth halo modelbut with Poisson-distributed noise in the numbers of RRLSs and, withinlimits, random variations in the positions and magnitudes of theartificial stars. The 104 artificial surveys created by thisroutine were examined for significant groups in exactly the same way asthe QUEST survey. These calculations provided estimates of thefrequencies with which random fluctuations produce significant groups.In the QUEST survey there are six significant overdensities that containsix or more stars and several smaller ones. The small ones and possiblyone or two of the larger ones may be artifacts of statisticalfluctuations, and they need to be confirmed by measurements of radialvelocity and/or proper motion. The most prominent groups are thenorthern stream from the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy and a largegroup in Virgo, formerly known as the ``12.4 hr clump,'' which Duffauand coworkers have recently shown to contain a stellar stream (the Virgostellar stream). Two other groups lie in the direction of the Monocerosstream and at approximately the right distance for membership. Anothergroup is related to the globular cluster Palomar 5.

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.

A Large Stellar Evolution Database for Population Synthesis Studies. II. Stellar Models and Isochrones for an α-enhanced Metal Distribution
We present a large, new set of stellar evolution models and isochronesfor an α-enhanced metal distribution typical of Galactic halo andbulge stars; it represents a homogeneous extension of our stellar modellibrary for a scaled-solar metal distribution already presented byPietrinferni et al. The effect of the α-element enhancement hasbeen properly taken into account in the nuclear network, opacity,equation of state, and for the first time in the bolometric correctionsand color transformations. This allows us to avoid the inconsistentuse-common to all α-enhanced model libraries currentlyavailable-of scaled-solar bolometric corrections and colortransformations for α-enhanced models and isochrones. We show howbolometric corrections to magnitudes obtained for the U, B portion ofstellar spectra for Teff<=6500 K are significantlyaffected by the metal mixture, especially at the higher metallicities.Our models cover both an extended mass range (between 0.5 and 10Msolar, with a fine mass spacing) and a broad metallicityrange, including 11 values of the metal mass fraction Z, correspondingto the range -2.6<=[Fe/H]<=0.05. The initial He mass fraction isY=0.245 for the most metal-poor models, and it increases with Z,according to ΔY/ΔZ=1.4. Models with and without theinclusion of overshoot from the convective cores during the centralH-burning phase are provided, as well as models with different mass lossefficiencies. We also provide complete sets of evolutionary models forlow-mass, He-burning stellar structures cover the whole metallicityrange. This database, used in combination with our scaled-solar modellibrary, is a valuable tool for investigating both Galactic andextragalactic simple and composite stellar populations, using stellarpopulation synthesis techniques.

Surface-brightness fluctuations in stellar populations. IAC-star models for the optical and near-IR wavelengths
Aims.A new theoretical calibration of surface-brightness fluctuations(SBF) for single age, single metallicity stellar populations ispresented for the optical and near-IR broad-band filters, as well as forthe HST WFPC2 and ACS filters. Methods: .The IAC-star code isused. Two Padua and the Teramo stellar evolution libraries have beenconsidered. A set of single-burst stellar populations (SSP) with a widerange of ages (3 Gy-15 Gy) and metallicities (Z = 0.0001-0.03) have beencomputed using each one of the three considered stellar evolutionlibraries. For each SSP, color indexes and SBF magnitudes are given forthe filters U, B, V, R, I, J, H, K, {F218W}, {F336W}, {F439W}, {F450W},{F555W} and {F814W}, and for the first time, an uncertainty has beenestimated for the SBF theoretical calibration. Results: .Althoughsome differences might be addressed, the Padua and Teramo stellarevolution libraries provide comparable SBF results. A detailedcomparison of the present SBF calibrations with both previouscalibrations and observational data is also presented. Comparing thedifferent models with observational data, Padua based models reproducefairly well the optical data for globular clusters, while Teramo basedmodels fits both optical galaxies and globular clusters data, as well.In the near-IR wavelengths, the Teramo based models provide the only SBFtheoretical calibration to date able to properly reproduce theobservational data for superclusters, with intermediate-to-lowmetallicity. As a conclusion, Teramo based models work better than anyother calibration reproducing observational data for the near-IRwavelengths. Furthermore, the age-metallicity degeneracy is broken forlow metallicity (Z≤0.0037) stellar populations. Finally, a clearrelation between the B SBF absolute magnitude of a stellar populationand its metallicity is found for intermediate to old populations, so theB-band fluctuation magnitude is proposed as a metallicity tracer. Thepresent theoretical calibration shows that the analysis of SBF providesa very powerful tool in the study and characterization of unresolvedstellar populations.

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.

UBVI CCD Photometry of the Old Open Cluster Berkeley 17
Photometric UBVI CCD photometry is presented for NGC 188 and Berkeley17. Color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) are constructed and reach well pastthe main-sequence turnoff for both clusters. Cluster ages are determinedby means of isochrone fitting to the cluster CMDs. These fits areconstrained to agree with spectroscopic metallicity and reddeningestimates. Cluster ages are determined to be 7.0+/-0.5 Gyr for NGC 188and 10.0+/-1.0 Gyr for Berkeley 17, where the errors refer touncertainties in the relative age determinations. These ages arecompared to the ages of relatively metal-rich inner halo/thick-diskglobular clusters and other old open clusters. Berkeley 17 and NGC 6791are the oldest open clusters, with ages of 10 Gyr. They are 2 Gyryounger than the thick-disk globular clusters. These results confirm thestatus of Berkeley 17 as one of the oldest known open clusters in theMilky Way, and its age provides a lower limit to the age of the Galacticdisk.

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.

Age and Metallicity Estimation of Globular Clusters from Strömgren Photometry
We present a new technique for the determination of age and metallicityin composite stellar populations using Strömgren filters. Usingprincipal component (PC) analysis on multicolor models, we isolate therange of values necessary to uniquely determine age and metallicityeffects. The technique presented here can only be applied to old(τ>3 Gyr) stellar systems composed of simple stellar populations,such as globular clusters and elliptical galaxies. Calibration using newphotometry of 40 globular clusters with spectroscopic [Fe/H] values andmain-sequence-fitted ages links the PC values to the Strömgrencolors, for an accuracy of 0.2 dex in metallicity and 0.5 Gyr in age.

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.

Infrared Echelle Spectroscopy of Palomar 6 and M71
We present high-resolution infrared echelle spectroscopy for theglobular clusters Palomar 6 and M71. Our mean heliocentric radialvelocity of Pal 6 is +180.6+/-3.2 km s-1 and is 20 kms-1 lower than that found by Minniti in 1995. Contrary to theprevious metallicity estimates using low-resolution spectroscopy, ourresults show that Pal 6 has an intermediate metallicity, with[Fe/H]=-1.0+/-0.1, and is slightly more metal poor than M71. Reasonablechanges in the surface temperature or the microturbulent velocity of themodel atmospheres do not affect [Fe/H] at more than +/-0.2 dex. In spiteof its high metallicity, on the basis of the spectrum of a singlecluster member the [Si/Fe] and [Ti/Fe] ratios of Pal 6 appear to beenhanced by 0.4 and 0.5 dex, respectively, suggesting that the Galacticinner halo may have experienced a very rapid chemical enrichmenthistory.Based on observations made with the Infrared Telescope Facility, whichis operated by the University of Hawaii under contract to the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration.

The metal content of the bulge globular cluster NGC 6528
High resolution spectra of five stars in the bulge globular cluster NGC6528 were obtained at the 8m VLT UT2-Kueyen telescope with the UVESspectrograph. Out of the five stars, two of them showed evidence ofbinarity. The target stars belong to the horizontal and red giant branchstages, at 4000 < Tefflt; 4800 K. Multiband V, I, J, H,Ks photometry was used to derive initial effectivetemperatures and gravities. The main purpose of this study is thedetermination of metallicity and elemental ratios for this templatebulge cluster, as a basis for the fundamental calibration of metal-richpopulations. The present analysis provides a metallicity [Fe/H] =-0.1±0.2 and the α-elements O, Mg and Si, show [α/Fe]≈ +0.1, whereas Ca and Ti are around the solar value or below,resulting in an overall metallicity Z ≈ Zȯ.Observations collected both at the European Southern Observatory,Paranal and La Silla, Chile (ESO programme 65.L-0340) and with theNASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope ScienceInstitute, operated by AURA Inc. under contract to NASA.Tables \ref{targets}, \ref{logobs}, \ref{tablines} and Fig. \ref{chart}are only available in electronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org

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.

RR Lyrae variables in Galactic globular clusters. I. The observational scenario
In this paper we revisit observational data concerning RR Lyrae stars inGalactic globular clusters, presenting frequency histograms offundamentalized periods for the 32 clusters having more than 12pulsators with well recognized period and pulsation mode. One finds thatthe range of fundamentalized periods covered by the variables in a givencluster remains fairly constant in varying the cluster metallicity allover the metallicity range spanned by the cluster sample, with the onlytwo exceptions given by M 15 and NGC 6441. We conclude that the width intemperature of the RR Lyrae instability strip appears largelyindependent of the cluster metallicity. At the same time, it appearsthat the fundamentalized periods are not affected by the predictedvariation of pulsators luminosity with metal abundance, indicating theoccurrence of a correlated variation in the pulsator mass. We discussmean periods in a selected sample of statistically significant ``RRrich" clusters with no less than 10 RRab and 5 RRc variables. One findsa clear evidence for the well known Oosterhoff dichotomy in the meanperiod of ab-type variables, together with a similarlyclear evidence for a constancy of the mean fundamentalized period in passing from Oosterhoff type II to type I clusters. Onthis basis, the origin of the Oosterhoff dichotomy is discussed,presenting evidence against a strong dependence of the RR Lyraeluminosity on the metal content. On the contrary, i) the continuity ofthe mean fundamentalized period, ii) the period frequency histograms inthe two prototypes M 3 (type I) and M 15 (type II), iii) the relativeabundance of first overtone pulsators, and iv) the observed differencebetween mean fundamental and fundamentalized periods, all agree in suggesting the dominant occurrence of avariation in the pulsation mode in a middle region of the instabilitystrip (the ``OR" zone), where variables of Oosterhoff type I and type IIclusters are pulsating in the fundamental or first overtone mode,respectively.

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.

New Optical and Near-Infrared Surface Brightness Fluctuation Models: A Primary Distance Indicator Ranging from Globular Clusters to Distant Galaxies?
We present new theoretical models for surface brightness fluctuations(SBFs) both for optical and near-infrared bands in standard ground-basedand Hubble Space Telescope filter systems. Simple stellar populationsimulations are adopted. Models cover the age and metallicity rangesfrom 5 to 15 Gyr and from Z=0.0001 to Z=0.04, respectively. Effects dueto variation of the initial mass function and the stellarcolor-temperature relation are explored. Particular attention is devotedto very bright stars in the color-magnitude diagram and to investigatingthe effects of mass loss along the red giant branch (RGB) and theasymptotic giant branch (AGB). It is found that U- and B-band SBFamplitudes are powerful diagnostics for the morphology of the horizontalbranch and the post-AGB star population. We point out that a carefultreatment of the mass-loss process along the RGB and AGB is fundamentalto determining reliable SBF evaluations. The SBF measurements are usedto place robust constraints on the evolution of AGB stars, suggestingthat the mass-loss activity of AGB stars should be twice as efficient asthat of RGB stars. Our models are able to reproduce the absolute SBFmagnitudes of Galactic globular clusters and of galaxies and theirintegrated colors. New calibrations of absolute SBF magnitude in V, R,I, and K photometric filters are provided, which appear reliable enoughto directly gauge distances, bypassing other distance indicators. TheSBF technique is also used as a stellar population tracer to derive theage and metallicity of a selected sample of galaxies of known distances.Finally, SBF color versus integrated color diagrams are proposed asparticularly useful in removing the well-known age-metallicitydegeneracy affecting our knowledge of remote stellar systems.

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.

Highly Ionized Gas in the Galactic Halo: A FUSE Survey of O VI Absorption toward 22 Halo Stars
Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spectra of 22 Galactichalo stars are studied to determine the amount of O VI in the Galactichalo between ~0.3 and ~10 kpc from the Galactic midplane. Strong O VIλ1031.93 absorption was detected toward 21 stars, and a reliable3 σ upper limit was obtained toward HD 97991. The weaker member ofthe O VI doublet at 1037.62 Å could be studied toward only sixstars because of stellar and interstellar blending problems. Themeasured logarithmic total column densities vary from 13.65 to 14.57with =14.17+/-0.28 (1 σ). The observed columns arereasonably consistent with a patchy exponential O VI distribution with amidplane density of 1.7×10-8 cm-3 and scaleheight between 2.3 and 4 kpc. We do not see clear signs of stronghigh-velocity components in O VI absorption along the Galactic sightlines, which indicates the general absence of high-velocity O VI within2-5 kpc of the Galactic midplane. This result is in marked contrast tothe findings of Sembach et al., who reported high-velocity O VIabsorption toward ~60% of the complete halo sight lines observed byFUSE. The line centroid velocities of the O VI absorption do not reflectGalactic rotation well. The O VI velocity dispersions range from 33 to78 km s-1, with an average of =45+/-11 kms-1 (1 σ). These values are much higher than the valueof ~18 km s-1 expected from thermal broadening for gas atT~3×105 K, the temperature at which O VI is expected toreach its peak abundance in collisional ionization equilibrium.Turbulence, inflow, and outflow must have an effect on the shape of theO VI profiles. Kinematical comparisons of O VI with Ar I reveal thateight of 21 sight lines are closely aligned in LSR velocity(|ΔVLSR|<=5 km s-1), while nine of 21exhibit significant velocity differences(|ΔVLSR|>=15 km s-1). This dual behaviormay indicate the presence of two different types of O VI-bearingenvironments toward the Galactic sight lines. The correlation betweenthe H I and O VI intermediate-velocity absorption is poor. We couldidentify the known H I intermediate-velocity components in the Ar Iabsorption but not in the O VI absorption in most cases. Comparison of OVI with other highly ionized species suggests that the high ions areproduced primarily by cooling hot gas in the Galactic fountain flow andthat turbulent mixing also has a significant contribution. The role ofturbulent mixing varies from negligible to dominant. It is mostimportant toward sight lines that sample supernova remnants like Loops Iand IV. The average N(C IV)/N(O VI) ratios for the nearby halo (thiswork) and complete halo (Savage et al.) are similar (~0.6), but thedispersion is larger in the sample of nearby halo sight lines. We areable to show that the O VI enhancement toward the Galactic center regionthat was observed in the FUSE survey of complete halo sight lines(Savage et al.) is likely associated with processes occurring near theGalactic center by comparing the observations toward the nearby HD177566 sight line to those toward extragalactic targets.

Space Velocities of Southern Globular Clusters. IV. First Results for Inner Galaxy Clusters
We have measured the absolute proper motions of four low-latitude, innerGalaxy globular clusters. These clusters are NGC 6266 (M62), NGC 6304,NGC 6316, and NGC 6723. The proper motions are on the Hipparcos system,since no background extragalactic objects are found in thesehigh-extinction regions. The proper-motion uncertainties range between0.3 and 0.6 mas yr-1. We discuss the kinematics of theseclusters and of three additional bulge clusters-NGC 6522, NGC 6528, andNGC 6553-whose proper motions with respect to bulge stars had beendetermined previously. We find that all of the clusters have velocitiesthat confine them to the bulge region. Of the three metal-poor clusters([Fe/H]<-1.0), NGC 6522, and NGC 6723 have kinematics consistent withhalo membership. The third cluster, NGC 6266 however, appears to belongto a rotationally supported system. Of the four metal-rich clusters([Fe/H]>=-1.0), NGC 6304 and NGC 6553 also have kinematics consistentwith membership to a rotationally supported system. NGC 6528 haskinematics, metallicity, and mass that argue in favor of a genuine MilkyWay bar cluster. NGC 6316's kinematics indicate membership to a hottersystem than the bar.

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Right ascension:18h59m33.14s
Apparent magnitude:7.3

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