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SLUG IV : a novel forward-modelling method to derive the demographics of star clusters.

Krumholz, M. R. and Adamo, A. and Fumagalli, M. and Calzetti, D. (2019) 'SLUG IV : a novel forward-modelling method to derive the demographics of star clusters.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 482 (3). pp. 3550-3566.


We describe a novel method for determining the demographics of a population of star clusters, for example distributions of cluster mass and age, from unresolved photometry. This method has a number of desirable properties: it fully exploits all the information available in a data set without any binning, correctly accounts for both measurement error and sample incompleteness, naturally handles heterogenous data (for example fields that have been imaged with different sets of filters or to different depths), marginalises over uncertain extinctions, and returns the full posterior distributions of the parameters describing star cluster demographics. We demonstrate the method using mock star cluster catalogs and show that our method is robust and accurate, and that it can recover the demographics of star cluster populations significantly better than traditional fitting methods. For realistic sample sizes, our method is sufficiently powerful that its accuracy is ultimately limited by the accuracy of the underlying physical models for stellar evolution and interstellar dust, rather than by statistical uncertainties. Our method is implemented as part of the Stochastically Lighting Up Galaxies (slug) stellar populations code, and is freely available.

Item Type:Article
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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:23 October 2018
Date deposited:21 November 2018
Date of first online publication:27 October 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

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