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Near-infrared variability study of the central 2.3 × 2.3 arcmin(2) of the Galactic Centre - II. Identification of RR Lyrae stars in the Milky Way nuclear star cluster

AutorDong, Hui; Schödel, Rainer; Nogueras Lara, Francisco; Gallego Cano, Eulalia; Gallego Calvente, T; Ghez, A.
Palabras claveGalaxy: centre
Infrared: stars
Stars: variables: RR Lyrae
Fecha de publicación20-jul-2017
EditorOxford University Press
CitaciónMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 471(3): 3617-3631 (2017)
ResumenBecause of strong and spatially highly variable interstellar extinction and extreme source crowding, the faint (K ≥ 15) stellar population in the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster is still poorly studied. RR Lyrae stars provide us with a tool to estimate the mass of the oldest, relative dim stellar population. Recently, we analysed HST/WFC3/IR observations of the central 2.3 × 2.3 arcmin2 of the Milky Way and found 21 variable stars with periods between 0.2 and 1 d. Here, we present a further comprehensive analysis of these stars. The period- luminosity relationship of RR Lyrae is used to derive their extinctions and distances. Using multiple approaches, we classify our sample as 4 RRc stars, 4 RRab stars, 3 RRab candidates and 10 binaries. Especially, the four RRab stars show sawtooth light curves and fall exactly on to the Oosterhoff I division in the Bailey diagram. Compared to the RRab stars reported by Minniti et al., our new RRab stars have higher extinction (AK > 1.8) and should be closer to the Galactic Centre. The extinction and distance of one RRab stars match those for the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster given in previous works. We perform simulations and find that after correcting for incompleteness, there could be not more than 40 RRab stars within the Milky Way's nuclear star cluster and in our field of view. Through comparing with the known globular clusters of the Milky Way, we estimate that if there exists an old, metal-poor (-1.5 < [Fe/H] < -1) stellar population in the Milky Way nuclear star cluster on a scale of 5 × 5 pc, then it contributes at most 4.7 × 105 M⊙, i.e. ~18 per cent of the stellar mass. © 2017 The Authors.
DescripciónDong, Hui et. al.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx1836
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