MASSCLEANage–Stellar cluster ages from integrated colors.
POPESCU B. and HANSON M.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the recently updated and expanded MASSCLEANcolors, a database of 70 million Monte Carlo models selected to match the properties (metallicity, ages, and masses) of stellar clusters found in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This database shows the rather extreme and non-Gaussian distribution of integrated colors and magnitudes expected with different cluster age and mass and the enormous age degeneracy of integrated colors when mass is unknown. This degeneracy could lead to catastrophic failures in estimating age with standard simple stellar population models, particularly if most of the clusters are of intermediate or low mass, like in the LMC. Utilizing the MASSCLEANcolors database, we have developed MASSCLEANage, a statistical inference package which assigns the most likely age and mass (solved simultaneously) to a cluster based only on its integrated broadband photometric properties. Finally, we use MASSCLEANage to derive the age and mass of LMC clusters based on integrated photometry alone. First, we compare our cluster ages against those obtained for the same seven clusters using more accurate integrated spectroscopy. We find improved agreement with the integrated spectroscopy ages over the original photometric ages. A close examination of our results demonstrates the necessity of solving simultaneously for mass and age to reduce degeneracies in the cluster ages derived via integrated colors. We then selected an additional subset of 30 photometric clusters with previously well-constrained ages and independently derive their age using the MASSCLEANage with the same photometry with very good agreement. The MASSCLEANage program is freely available under GNU General Public License.
galaxies: clusters: general - methods: analytical - open clusters and associations: general