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The Astronomical Journal


We present the color-magnitude diagram (CMD) from deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging in the globular cluster NGC 6397. The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) was used for 126 orbits to image a single field in two colors (F814W, F606W) 5' SE of the cluster center. The field observed overlaps that of archival WFPC2 data from 1994 and 1997 which were used to proper motion (PM) clean the data. Applying the PM corrections produces a remarkably clean CMD which reveals a number of features never seen before in a globular cluster CMD. In our field, the main-sequence stars appeared to terminate close to the location in the CMD of the hydrogen-burning limit predicted by two independent sets of stellar evolution models. The faintest observed main-sequence stars are about a magnitude fainter than the least luminous metal-poor field halo stars known, suggesting that the lowest-luminosity halo stars still await discovery. At the bright end the data extend beyond the main-sequence turnoff to well up the giant branch. A populous white dwarf cooling sequence is also seen in the cluster CMD. The most dramatic features of the cooling sequence are its turn to the blue at faint magnitudes as well as an apparent truncation near F814W = 28. The cluster luminosity and mass functions were derived, stretching from the turnoff down to the hydrogen-burning limit. It was well modeled with either a very flat power-law or a lognormal function. In order to interpret these fits more fully we compared them with similar functions in the cluster core and with a full N-body model of NGC 6397 finding satisfactory agreement between the model predictions and the data. This exercise demonstrates the important role and the effect that dynamics has played in altering the cluster initial mass function.