Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date



Currently there are two main techniques for independently determining the ages of stellar populations: main-sequence evolution theory (via cluster isochrones) and white dwarf cooling theory. Open clusters provide the ideal environment for the calibration of these two clocks. Because current techniques to derive cluster ages from white dwarfs are observationally challenging, we discuss the feasibility of determining white dwarf ages from the brighter white dwarfs alone. This would eliminate the requirement of observing the coolest (i.e., faintest) white dwarfs. We discuss our method for testing this new idea, as well as the required photometric precision and prior constraints on metallicity, distance, and reddening. We employ a new Bayesian statistical technique to obtain and interpret results.

Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal


Institute of Physics Publishing, Inc.

Grant or Award Name

NASA grant NAG5- 13070 and NSF grant AST 03-07315

Additional Information

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