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Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

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I explore the current ability of both white dwarf cooling theory and main-sequence stellar evolution theory to accurately determine stellar population ages by comparing ages derived using both techniques for open clusters ranging from 0.1 to 4 Gyr. I find good agreement between white dwarf and main-sequence evolutionary ages over the entire age range currently available for study. I also find that directly comparing main-sequence turnoff ages to white dwarf ages is only weakly sensitive to realistic levels of errors in cluster distance, metallicity, and reddening. Additional detailed comparisons between white dwarf and main-sequence ages have tremendous potential to refine and calibrate both of these important clocks, and I present new simulations of promising open cluster targets. The most demanding requirements for these white dwarf studies are very deep (V ≥ 25-28) cluster observations made necessary by the faintness of the oldest white dwarfs.

Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal


Institute of Physics Publishing, Inc.

Additional Information

Dr. von Hippel was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.