On Cepheid distance scale bias due to stellar companions and cluster populations.
ANDERSON R.I. and RIESS A.G.
Abstract (from CDS):
State-of-the-art photometric measurements of extragalactic Cepheids account for the mean additional light due to chance superposition of Cepheids on crowded backgrounds through the use of artificial star measurements. However, light from stars physically associated with Cepheids may bias relative distance measurements if the changing spatial resolution along the distance ladder significantly alters the amount of associated blending. We have identified two regimes where this phenomenon may occur: Cepheids in wide binaries and in open clusters. We estimate stellar association bias using the photometric passbands and reddening-free Wesenheit magnitudes used to set up the distance scale. For wide binaries, we rely on Geneva stellar evolution models in conjunction with detailed statistics on intermediate-mass binary stars. For the impact of cluster stars, we have compiled information on the clustered Cepheid fraction and measured the typical cluster contribution in M31 via deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging provided by the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury project. We find that the dominant effect on the distance scale comes from Cepheids in clusters, even though cluster Cepheids are a relatively rare phenomenon. Wide binaries have a negligible effect of 0.004% on H0 for long-period Cepheids observed in the near-infrared or when considering Wesenheit magnitudes. We estimate that blending due to cluster populations has previously resulted in a 0.23% overestimate of H0. Correcting for this bias, we obtain H0=73.07±1.76kms–1Mpc–1, which remains in 3.3σ tension with the Planck value. We conclude that stellar association bias does not constitute a limit for measuring H0 with an accuracy of 1%.