Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1981. 19: 77-113
Copyright © 1981 by . All rights reserved

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4. OTHER GALAXIES: ABUNDANCE INDICATORS

4.1. Individual Stars

Direct spectroscopic analyses of individual stars are available in a few cases only which are confined - to our knowledge - to high-luminosity stars in the Magellanic Clouds and have given rather discrepant results in the past (Przybylski 1968, 1972, Wares, Ross & Aller 1968, Wolf 1972, 1973, Osmer 1973, Fry & Aller 1975, Foy 1977). Low-resolution spectra of giants in the Draco and Ursa Minor dwarf satellite systems resemble those of the most metal-weak galactic clusters (Cowley, Hartwick & Sargent 1978), and scanner measurements by Zinn (1978) of 23 giants in Draco give <[Fe/H]> = -1.9 with a range over a factor of 3. Stetson (1980) argued that the presumed range is due to inclusion of stars on the asymptotic branch, but a still bigger range has been found from spectral scans of the Ca+ K line (Kinman, Kraft & Suntzeff 1981). Other techniques applicable to individual stars in satellite systems of our Galaxy are DDO photometry (e.g. Gascoigne et al. 1976; but cf. Gustafsson, Bell & Hejlesen 1977) and the broader-band (and hence more rapid) Washington photometry (Canterna & Schommer 1978). Of these methods, the scanner technique (Searle & Zinn 1978) seems to be the most precise and reliable, at least for old populations resembling those of the galactic globular clusters, but all methods are in need of recalibration at the high-metallicity end (cf. Zinn 1980b).

Many of the statistical characteristics of stellar populations are abundance-related and can be used (with due precautions) as abundance indicators within (and occasionally beyond) the Local Group. These have been reviewed by van den Bergh (1975) and will not be discussed in detail here, but they include the systematics of color-magnitude diagrams, the period and color distributions of cepheids (cf. Iben & Tuggle 1975) and other variables, and the color distribution of supergiants (cf. Humphries & Davidson 1979), with the numerical ratio B/R increasing with metallicity although in the metal-weak SMC no supergiants are detected with spectral type later than M1 (Humphries 1979). Most of these population characteristics are affected (in principle at least) by age and initial mass function as well as composition (the latter in itself possibly involving more than one parameter), but in some cases there is hope that these can eventually be sorted out (cf. Kraft 1979 on the "second parameter" in globular clusters). Thus, the "thick" giant branches in the Sculptor, Fornax, and Ursa Minor dwarf systems have been taken as an indication of a metallicity range similar to that in omega Cen (Norris & Bessell 1978, Demers, Kunkel & Hardy 1979), while the colors of SMC cepheids at a given period indicate a uniform metal deficiency by a factor of about 4 (Gascoigne 1969, Bell & Parsons 1972, 1974). The H-R diagrams of clusters in the Magellanic Clouds (cf. van den Bergh 1975) have been subjected to many conflicting interpretations which we do not have space to review here. The brightest and reddest stars of intermediate age in the Clouds are carbon stars (Feast & Lloyd Evans 1973, Blanco, Blanco & McCarthy 1978, Mould & Aaronson 1979, 1980) with Mbol appeq - 5, as are those in Fornax (Demers & Kunkel 1979, Aaronson & Mould 1980) and Sculptor (Westerlund 1979). Infrared photometry of these very red stars provides a powerful age indicator based on the systematics of the AGB which implies that these stars are more massive and hence younger than stars of similar metallicity in Galactic globular clusters and that the metallicity spread in Fornax and the Clouds is associated with a significant age spread (cf. Norris & Zinn 1975); this is in agreement with the classification of spectral scans of the integrated light of Magellanic Cloud clusters by Searle, Wilkinson & Bagnuolo (1980) which implies a quite smooth one-to-one correspondence between these two parameters.

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