A comparison of the planetary nebula luminosity function and surface brightness fluctuation distance scales

Robin Ciardullo, George H. Jacoby, John L. Tonry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two of the best techniques for measuring distances greater than ∼3 Mpc are the planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF) and the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) method. We compare the results of both methods and analyze the internal and external errors associated with the measurements. We find that the PNLF distances are systematically larger than the SBF distances by 0.07 ± 0.03 mag, but this error can be entirely attributed to uncertainties in the Local Group calibrations which both methods employ. After correcting for this effect, we find the random scatter in the difference between the PNLF and SBF distance determinations Δ = (m-M)SBF - (m-M)PNLF = 0.17 mag, is in exact agreement with that predicted from the internal uncertainties of the methods. We show that Δ is not measurably correlated with such parameters as galaxy color metallicity, specific PN density, and specific globular cluster frequency, but does correlate slightly with galactic absolute B magnitude. We discuss the reality of this correlation and show that the trend is not important for extragalactic distance applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-484
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume419
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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