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We investigate the effects of α-element enhancement and the thermally pulsing-asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars on the surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) magnitudes and broadband colors of simple stellar populations and compare to the empirical calibrations. We consider a broad range of ages and metallicities using the recently updated Teramo BaSTI isochrones. We find that the α-element-enhanced I-band SBF magnitudes are about 0.35mag brighter and their integrated V - I colors are about 0.02mag redder, mostly because of oxygen-enhancement effects on the upper red giant branch and AGB. We also demonstrate, using both the Teramo BaSTI and Padova isochrones, the acute sensitivity of SBF magnitudes to the presence of TP-AGB stars, particularly in the near-IR, but in the I band as well. Empirical SBF trends therefore hold great promise for constraining this important but still highly uncertain stage of stellar evolution. In a similar vein, non-negligible disparities are found among several different models available in the literature due to intrinsic model uncertainties. © 2010 The American Astronomical Society.


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Astrophysical Journal





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