Using Yale stellar evolution models, we present an analysis of the color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of three intermediate-age LMC clusters, namely, NGC 2173, SL 556, and NGC 2155, obtained with the Very Large Telescope. The main goal of our project is to investigate the amount of convective core overshoot necessary to reproduce the CMDs of relatively metal-poor, intermediate-age stellar populations, to check whether the extrapolation that is usually made from solar metallicity is valid. In the process, we obtained values for the binary fraction of each cluster, together with refined age estimates. Our method involved the comparison of the observed CMDs with synthetic CMDs computed using various values of the overshoot parameter and binary fraction. We conclude that a moderate amount of overshoot and some fraction of binary stars are essential for reproducing the observed shapes around the turnoff in the CMDs of all three clusters: unresolved binary stars fill in the expected core contraction gap and make a unique sequence near the gap, which cannot be reproduced by single stars alone, even with a larger amount of overshoot. We utilize ratios of the number of stars in different areas around the core contraction gap to constrain the binary fraction, which is around 10%-20% (for primary-to-secondary mass ratio ≥0.7) in all three clusters. Even if binary stars contaminate the core contraction gap, it is shown that the overshoot parameter can be inferred from the color dispersion of the stars around the contraction gap, regardless of the assumed binary fraction. From our overall analysis such as shape of isochrones, star counts, color distribution, and synthetic CMD comparisons, we conclude that overshoot ∼20% of the local pressure scale height best reproduces the CMD properties of all three clusters. The best age estimates are 1.5, 2.1, and 2.9 Gyr for NGC 2173, SL 556, and NGC 2155, respectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science