Journal Article

RR Lyrae variables in the Small Magellanic Cloud — II. The extended area: chemical and structural analysis

E. Kapakos and D. Hatzidimitriou

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 426, issue 3, pages 2063-2077
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
RR Lyrae variables in the Small Magellanic Cloud — II. The extended area: chemical and structural analysis

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We have performed the Fourier decomposition analysis of 8- and 13-yr V-band light curves of a carefully selected sample of 454 fundamental-mode RR Lyrae variables (RRab type), detected in an ≃14 square degree area of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and listed in the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, phase III, Catalogue of Variable Stars. The Fourier decomposition parameters were used to derive metal abundances and distance moduli, following the methodology described by Kapakos, Hatzidimitriou & Soszyński. The average metal abundance of the RRab stars on the new scale of Carretta et al. was found to be 〈[Fe/H]C09〉 = −1.69 ± 0.41 dex (std, with a standard error of 0.02 dex). A tentative metallicity gradient of −0.013 ± 0.007 dex kpc−1 was detected, with increasing metal abundance towards the dynamical centre of the SMC, but selection effects are also discussed. The distance modulus of the SMC was re-estimated and was found to be 〈μ〉 = 19.13 ± 0.19 (std) in a distance scale where the distance modulus of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is μLMC = 18.52 ± 0.06 (std). The average 1σ line-of-sight depth was found to be σint = 5.3 ± 0.4 kpc (std), while spatial variations of the depth were detected. The SMC was found to be deeper in the north-eastern region, while metal-richer and metal-poorer objects in the sample seem to belong to different dynamical structures. The former have smaller scale height and may constitute a thick disc, its width being 10.40 ± 0.02 kpc, and a bulge whose size (radius) is estimated to be 2.09 ± 0.81 kpc. The latter seem to belong to a halo structure with a maximum depth along the line of sight extending over 16 kpc in the SMC central region and falling to ∼12 kpc in the outer regions.

Keywords: methods: data analysis; astronomical data bases: miscellaneous; stars: abundances; stars: variables: RR Lyrae; Magellanic Clouds

Journal Article.  11093 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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