Identifying blue horizontal branch stars using the z filter

John J. Vickers*, Eva K. Grebel, Avon P. Huxor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present a new method for selecting blue horizontal branch (BHB) candidates based on color-color photometry. We make use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey z band as a surface gravity indicator and show its value for selecting BHB stars from quasars, white dwarfs, and main-sequence A-type stars. Using the g, r, i, and z bands, we demonstrate that extraction accuracies on a par with more traditional u, g, and r photometric selection methods may be achieved. We also show that the completeness necessary to probe major Galactic structure may be maintained. Our new method allows us to efficiently select BHB stars from photometric sky surveys that do not include a u-band filter such as the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • stars: horizontal-branch
  • techniques: photometric
  • techniques: spectroscopic

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