Abundance effects on the Cepheid distance scale

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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Abundance, Cepheid Variables, Distance, Magellanic Clouds, Stellar Luminosity, Stellar Oscillations, Chemical Composition, Interstellar Extinction, Metallic Stars

Scientific paper

A new investigation is made of the dependence of the period-luminosity (PL) and period-luminosity-color (PLC) relations on the helium (Y) and metal (Z) abundances in classical Cepheids. For consistency in overall approach and in error estimation, theoretical data alone have been used. These data come from stellar evolution, atmosphere, and pulsation theory. Composition dependences have been assigned to all quantities. A major quantitative result is that the PLC relation in B, V magnitudes is at least 5 times more sensitive to chemical composition than is the PL relation. If the PL relation is adopted and the helium abundance is held fixed, a Cepheid with Z = 0.005 should be fainter than one with Z = 0.02 by ≡0.04 mag. Since the slope of the predicted PL relation is independent of chemical composition, the PL relation can be considered to be effectively universal. Theoretical results are also presented for the bolometric PL relation, whose slope and dependence on metal abundance should be roughly applicable to infrared observations of Cepheids.

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