Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

Spring 3-1-1995


The white dwarf luminosity function of a stellar cluster will have a sharp trunca- tion at a luminosity which is determined by the time since formation of the first white dwarfs in that cluster. Calculation of the dependence of this limiting luminosity on age requires relatively well-understood physics and is independent of stellar evolutionary models. Thus, measurement of the termination of the white dwarf luminosity func- tion provides an independent method to determine the age of a cluster, and thereby to calibrate stellar evolutionary ages. We have obtained HST WFPC2 data in two open clusters, identified the white dwarf sequence, and proved the feasibility of this approach, by detecting white dwarfs to V=25. Much deeper data are feasible. From our present limited data, we show that degenerate cooling ages are not consistent with some published isochrone ages for clusters with ages of order 1Gyr.

Publication Title

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society



Oxford University Press