SCYON Abstract

Received on February 16 2001

The Metal-rich Globular Cluster NGC 6553: Observations with WFPC2, STIS, and NICMOS

AuthorsSylvie F. Beaulieu1, G. Gilmore1, R.A.W. Elson1, R.A. Johnson1, B. Santiago2, S. Sigurdsson3, N. Tanvir4
Affiliation1IoA, Cambridge,
2IdF, Brasil,
Accepted byAstronomical Journal


We present a HST study of the metal-rich globular cluster NGC 6553 using WFPC2, NICMOS and STIS. Our primary motivation is to calibrate the STIS broad-band LP magnitude against V555 and I814 magnitudes for stars of known metallicity and absolute (visual) magnitude, for application to our study of LMC globular clusters. NGC6553 has been shown in earlier studies to have a very unusual colour-magnitude diagram, so we also use our data to investigate the reddening, distance, luminosity function and structure of this cluster. We deduce a higher metallicity and smaller distance modulus than did some previous studies, but emphasise that very large patchy extinction on small angular scales prohibits accurate determination of the parameters of this cluster. The horizontal branch of NGC 6553 in (V,V-I) is tilted at an angle close to that of the reddening vector. We show that extinction does not, however, explain the tilt, which is presumably a metallicity effect. The colour-magnitude diagram shows an apparent second turnoff some 1.5 magnitudes fainter than that of the cluster. We show that this is most likely the background Galactic bulge: however, in that case, the colour-magnitude diagram of NGC 6553 is not a good match to that of the field bulge population. The cluster is probably more metal-rich than is the mean field bulge star.