Surface brightness fluctuations as primary and secondary distance indicators

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Journal titleAstrophysics and Space Science
Pages179186; # of pages: 8
AbstractThe surface brightness fluctuations (SBF) method measures the variance in a galaxy's light distribution arising from fluctuations in the numbers and luminosities of individual stars per resolution element. Once calibrated for stellar population effects, SBF measurements with HST provide distances to early-type galaxies with unrivaled precision. Optical SBF data from HST for the Virgo and Fornax clusters give the relative distances of these nearby fiducial clusters with 2% precision and constrain their internal structures. Observations in hand will allow us to tie the Coma cluster, the standard of comparison for distant cluster studies, into the same precise relative distance scale. The SBF method can be calibrated in an absolute sense either empirically from Cepheids or theoretically from stellar population models. The agreement between the model and empirical zero points has improved dramatically, providing an independent confirmation of the Cepheid distance scale. SBF is still brighter in the near-IR, and an ongoing program to calibrate the method for the F110W and F160W passbands of the Wide Field Camera 3 IR channel will enable accurate distance derivation whenever a large early-type galaxy or bulge is observed in these passbands at distances reaching well out into the Hubble flow. © 2012 UK Crown: National Research Council of Canada.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269341
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Record identifieraa94b0e4-f032-45a8-95cb-37b7b2c60fd0
Record created2013-12-12
Record modified2016-05-09
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