White dwarfs and the ages of open clusters

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White dwarfs and the ages of open clusters

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dc.contributor.advisor Von Hippel, Ted
dc.contributor.advisor Winget, Donald Earl, 1955-
dc.creator Jeffery, Elizabeth Jane
dc.date.accessioned 2011-03-23T19:19:04Z
dc.date.available 2011-03-23T19:19:04Z
dc.date.created 2009-08
dc.date.issued 2011-03-23
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2152/10652
dc.description.abstract Open clusters have long been objects of interest in astronomy. As a good approximation of essentially pure stellar populations, they have proved very useful for studies in a wide range of astrophysically interesting questions, including stellar evolution and atmosphere, the chemical and dynamical evolution of our Galaxy, and the structure of our Galaxy. Of fundamental importance to our understanding of open clusters, as well as many other questions in astrophysics, is the accurate determination of ages. Currently there are two main techniques for independently determining the ages of stellar populations: main sequence evolution theory (via cluster isochrones) and white dwarf cooling theory. Open clusters provide the ideal environment for the calibration of these two important clocks, as well as the unique opportunity to directly compare and refine our understanding of both theories. Here I present a photometric study of six open clusters, including both ground-based data, and new, deep photometric data from the Hubble Space Telescope. From the former I derive main sequence turn off ages, while the latter will be used to search for faint cluster white dwarfs. From these data I measure a white dwarf age for each cluster and directly compare these ages with those I find from the main sequence turn off age. For this analysis I employ a new Bayesian statistical technique that has been developed by our group. Additionally, I use this new technique to explore the feasibility of a new method to determine cluster white dwarf ages from the hot (bright) white dwarfs alone, and its first successful application to the Hyades.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights Copyright © is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.
dc.subject Photometric study
dc.subject Open clusters, age
dc.subject Main sequence evolution theory
dc.subject White dwarf cooling theory
dc.title White dwarfs and the ages of open clusters
dc.description.department Astronomy
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material text
thesis.degree.department Astronomy
thesis.degree.discipline Astronomy
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy

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