A photometric metallicity estimate of the virgo stellar overdensity

Deokkeun An, Jennifer A. Johnson, Timothy C. Beers, Marc H. Pinsonneault, Donald M. Terndrup, Franck Delahaye, Young Sun Lee, Thomas Masseron, Brian Yanny

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32 Scopus citations


We determine photometric metal abundance estimates for individual main-sequence stars in the Virgo Overdensity (VOD), which covers almost 1000 deg2 on the sky, based on a calibration of the metallicity sensitivity of stellarisochrones in the gri filter passbands using field stars with well-determined spectroscopicmetal abundances. Despite the low precision of the method for individual stars, we derive [Fe/H] = ?2.0 ± 0.1 (internal) ± 0.5 (systematic) for the metal abundance of the VOD from photometric measurements of 0.7 million stars in the northern Galactic hemisphere with heliocentric distances from ∼ 10 kpc to ∼ 20 kpc. The metallicity of the VOD is indistinguishable, within Δ [Fe/H] ≤ 0.2, from that of field halo stars covering the same distance range. This initial application suggests that the Sloan Digital Sky Survey gri passbands can be used to probe the properties of main-sequence stars beyond ∼10 kpc, complementing studies of nearby stars from more metallicity-sensitive color indices that involve the u passband.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L64-L68
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Galaxy: abundances
  • Galaxy: evolution
  • Galaxy: formation
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: stellar content
  • Galaxy: structure


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