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Theoretical predictions for IMF diagnostics in UV spectroscopy of star clusters.

Ashworth, Greg and Fumagalli, Michele and Adamo, Angela and Krumholz, Mark R. (2018) 'Theoretical predictions for IMF diagnostics in UV spectroscopy of star clusters.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 480 (3). pp. 3091-3104.


We explore the possibility of using UV spectroscopy in combination with broad-band photometry as diagnostic tools for understanding the shape of the initial mass function (IMF) in unresolved stellar populations. Building on our previous work, we extend the Stochastically Lighting Up Galaxies (SLUG) code to include a high-resolution UV spectral synthesizer and equivalent width calculation capabilities. We first gain a qualitative understanding of how UV spectral features behave as the parameters that define a star cluster in SLUG (mass, age, extinction, and IMF slope α3) are changed. We then exploit Bayesian inference techniques to recover the α3 values for clusters simulated with SLUG, using mock observations of these clusters comprised of broad-band photometry and equivalent width measurements of a selection of UV spectral features. We find some improvement when compared to attempts using broad-band photometry alone (with the interquartile range of the α3 posterior PDF shrinking by 32%), although we still do not yet fully break the known degeneracy between the cluster mass and α3. Finally, we make predictions about how effective real observations will be by quantifying our ability to constrain α3 as a function of limiting equivalent width. We find that observations sensitive to a modest equivalent width of 9 ˚ A are sufficient to improve the recovery of the IMF slope parameter by 32% (interquartile range of posterior PDF median residuals), moving to 39% when we include all the significant spectral features in the wavelength range 900 − 3000 ˚ A.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2018 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:29 July 2018
Date deposited:19 September 2018
Date of first online publication:31 July 2018
Date first made open access:19 September 2018

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