date:Liverpool John Moores Univ, Astrophys Res Inst, Birkenhead CH41 1LD, Merseyside, England; Max Planck Inst Astrophys, D-85748 Garching, Germany; PACS, ICC, Inst Sterrenkunde, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium; European So Observ, EIS Team, D-85740 Garching, Germany
We present a new method to determine the distance to B-stars in eclipsing binary systems. The method is completely empirical and it is based on the existence of a very tight linear relationship between the V-band "zero, magnitude angular diameter" and the Stromgren colour index cl for B-stars; we have empirically calibrated this relationship using local single B-stars with accurate angular diameters, and B-stars in eclipsing binaries with precise radii and parallax determinations. By studying the differential behaviour of this relationship as predicted by theoretical stellar evolution models, we find that it is independent of the stellar metallicities for a range of [Fe/H] values between the solar one and that of Young stars in the Magellanic Clouds. The method, which also provides the value of the reddening to the system, is discussed ill detail, together with a thorough estimate of the associated errors. We conclude that accurate Stromgren photometry obtainable with 1.5 m-class telescopes of the LMC eclipsing binaries HV 2274 and HV 982 will allow to obtain an empirical LMC distance with an accuracy of the order of 0.13 mag.