With the William Herschel Telescope in La Palma we made IJKs observations of an area of about 40'x30' of the Local Group galaxy Draco. This allows us to describe Draco's late-type stellar population across the whole galaxy at a photometric level 2mag deeper than the 2MASS survey. We detected the red giant branch (RGB) and measured the magnitude of the tip of the RGB in the three bands. From that in the I band we obtain a distance modulus of (m-M)0=19.49±0.06(stat)±0.15(sys), in excellent agreement with a measurement from RR Lyrae stars. The peak of the (J-Ks)0 histogram at different MKs suggests that Draco has a mean [Fe/H]=-1.95±1.26 while fiducial RGB tracks of Galactic globular clusters indicate a mean [Fe/H]=-1.33±0.72 where the error corresponds to the spread around the mean value. There are significant differences between the colour-magnitude diagrams of stars in the inner, medium and outer areas of the galaxy. A metal poor (Z=0.0004) intermediate-age population (about 1.6 Gyr old) is clearly present and emerges in particular between 6' and 12' from the centre of the galaxy. A few additional carbon star candidates have been identified from both their location in the colour-magnitude diagram and from an indication of variability. The large scale distribution of late-type stars is smooth but irregular in shape; this points at a variation of inclination with radius.
stars: late-type - stars: distances - galaxies: Local Group - galaxies: photometry - infrared: stars - stars: carbon
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/A+A/442/165): table1.dat>