Distance scale zero points from galactic RR Lyrae star parallaxes

Benedict, G. Bendedict; McArthur, Barbara E.; Feast, Michael W.; Barnes, Thomas G.; Harrison, Thomas E.; Bean, Jacob L.; Menzies, John W.; Chaboyer, Brian; Fossati, Luca; Nesvacil, Nicole; Smith, Horace A.; Kolenberg, Katrien; Laney, C. D.; Kochukhov, Oleg; Nelan, Edmund P.; Shulyak, D. V.; Taylor, Denise and Freedman, Wendy L. (2011). Distance scale zero points from galactic RR Lyrae star parallaxes. Astronomical Journal, 142(6), article no. 187.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/142/6/187


We present new absolute trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions for seven Population II variable stars—five RR Lyr variables: RZ Cep, XZ Cyg, SU Dra, RR Lyr, and UV Oct; and two type 2 Cepheids: VY Pyx and κ Pav. We obtained these results with astrometric data from Fine Guidance Sensors, white-light interferometers on Hubble Space Telescope. We find absolute parallaxes in milliseconds of arc: RZ Cep, 2.12 ± 0.16 mas XZ Cyg, 1.67 ± 0.17 mas SU Dra, 1.42 ± 0.16 mas RR Lyr, 3.77 ± 0.13 mas UV Oct, 1.71 ± 0.10 mas VY Pyx, 6.44 ± 0.23 mas and κ Pav, 5.57 ± 0.28 mas an average σπ = 5.4%. With these parallaxes, we compute absolute magnitudes in V and K bandpasses corrected for interstellar extinction and Lutz-Kelker-Hanson bias. Using these RR Lyrae variable star absolute magnitudes, we then derive zero points for MV -[Fe/H] and MK -[Fe/H]-log P relations. The technique of reduced parallaxes corroborates these results. We employ our new results to determine distances and ages of several Galactic globular clusters and the distance of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The latter is close to that previously derived from Classical Cepheids uncorrected for any metallicity effect, indicating that any such effect is small. We also discuss the somewhat puzzling results obtained for our two type 2 Cepheids.

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