AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 71 (WIYN) Open Clusters and Associations
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[71.08] New Techniques to Determine Ages of Open Clusters Using White Dwarfs

E.J. Jeffery, T. von Hippel, W.H. Jefferys, D.E. Winget, N. Stein, S. DeGennaro (University of Texas at Austin)

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 important clocks, as well as providing the unique opportunity to directly compare and refine our understanding of both theories. Obtaining cluster ages with current white dwarf methods is observationally challenging, however, as it requires observing the coolest (i.e., faintest, MV > 16) white dwarfs. We have been exploring a new technique that uses age information in the hotter (i.e., brighter) white dwarfs. We discuss the feasibility of this new technique, and present results of our preliminary testing, based on extensive cluster simulations. We employ a new Bayesian statistical technique to obtain and interpret results.

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