A Comparison of Deep HST Luminosity Functions of Four Globular Clusters
From deep color-magnitude arrays made from V and I images taken with Hubble Space Telescope's WFPC2 camera we have determined luminosity functions (LFs) down to a level that corresponds to ~ 0.13 \msun, for the low-metal-abundance globular clusters M15, M30, M92, and NGC 6397. Because of the similarity of the metallicities of these clusters, differences in their luminosity functions directly trace differences in their mass functions. The LFs of M15, M30, and M92 agree closely over the entire observed range, whereas that of NGC 6397 drops away sharply at the faintest magnitudes. We suggest that the deficiency of low-mass stars in NGC 6397 is due to tidal shocks, to ejection through internal relaxation, or to a combination of the two. With the presently available mass-luminosity relations, we find that even in M15, M30, and M92 the mass functions probably do not rise so fast as to make the low-mass end dominant.
The Astronomical Journal
- Pub Date:
- April 1997
- 19 pages, 1 Latex file, 6 Postscript Figures, 5 Postscript tables Available as anonymous ftp at ftp://obelix.pd.astro.it/pub/papers/piotto_lf.tar.gz To appear in the Astronomical Journal, April issue