The Near-infrared Tip of the Red Giant Branch. I. A Calibration in the Isolated Dwarf Galaxy IC 1613

Barry F. Madore, Wendy L. Freedman, Dylan Hatt, Taylor J. Hoyt, Andrew J. Monson, Rachael L. Beaton, Jeffrey A. Rich, In Sung Jang, Myung Gyoon Lee, Victoria Scowcroft, Mark Seibert

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Based on observations from the FourStar near-infrared camera on the 6.5 m Baade-Magellan telescope at Las Campanas, Chile, we present calibrations of the JHK luminosities of stars defining the tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) in the halo of the Local Group dwarf galaxy IC 1613. We employ metallicity-independent (rectified) T-band magnitudes—constructed using J-, H-, and K-band magnitudes and both (J − H) and (J − K) colors to flatten the upward-sloping red giant branch tips as otherwise seen in their apparent color–magnitude diagrams. We describe and quantify the advantages of working at these particular near-infrared wavelengths, which are applicable to both the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We also note that these same wavelengths can be accessed from the ground for an eventual tie-in to Gaia for absolute astrometry and parallaxes to calibrate the intrinsic luminosity of the TRGB. Adopting the color terms derived from the IC 1613 data, as well as the zero points from a companion study of the Large Magellanic Cloud, whose distance is anchored to the geometric distances of detached eclipsing binaries, we find a true distance modulus of 24.32 ± 0.02 (statistical) ±0.05 mag (systematic) for IC 1613, which compares favorably with the recently published multi-wavelength, multi-method consensus modulus of 24.30 ± 0.05 mag by Hatt et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018


  • Magellanic Clouds
  • distance scale
  • galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • infrared: stars
  • stars: Population φ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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