Hubble finds multiple stellar “baby booms” in a globular cluster:
Analysis of Hubble observations of the massive globular cluster NGC 2808 provides evidence that it has three generations of stars that formed early in the cluster’s life. This is a major upset for conventional theories as astronomers have long thought that globular star clusters had a single “baby boom” of stars early in their lives and then settled down into a long, quiet middle age.
NGC 2808 :: Credits: European Space Agency, NASA, G. Piotto (University of Padua, Italy) and A. Sarajedini (University of Florida, USA). Acknowledgement: Davide de Martin (ESA/Hubble)
NGC 2808 :: preprint
A Triple Main Sequence in the Globular Cluster NGC 2808
(Submitted on 29 Mar 2007)
Abstract: Accurate photometry with HST/ACS shows that the main sequence of the globular cluster NGC 2808 splits into three separate branches. The three MS branches may be associated with complexities of the cluster’s horizontal branch and of its abundance distribution. We attribute the MS branches to successive rounds of star formation, with different helium abundances; we discuss possible sources of helium enrichment. Some other massive globulars also appear to have complex populations; we compare them with NGC 2808.
NGC 2808 :: new preprint
Eric L. Sandquist, André R. Martel
A Robust Test of Evolution near the Tip of the Red Giant Branch and Missing Giants in NGC 2808
Comments: 6 pages, 2 figures, accepted for ApJ Letters
We describe a new method for robustly testing theoretical predictions of red giant evolution near the tip of the giant branch. When theoretical cumulative luminosity functions are shifted to align the tip in I-band and normalized at a luminosity level slightly brighter than the red giant bump, virtually all dependence on age and composition (heavy elements and helium abundance) is eliminated. While significant comparisons with observations require large samples of giant stars, such samples are available for some of the most massive Milky Way globular clusters. We present comparisons with the clusters NGC 2808 and M5, and find that NGC 2808 has a deficiency of bright giants (with a probability of less than about 3% that a more extreme distribution of giant stars would have happened by chance). We discuss the possibilities that underestimated neutrino losses or strong mass loss could be responsible for the deficit of giants. While we cannot rule out the neutrino hypothesis, it cannot explain the apparent agreement between the M5 observations and models. On the other hand, strong mass loss provides a potential link between the giant star observations and NGC 2808’s unusually blue horizontal branch. If the mass loss hypothesis is true, there is likely a significant population of He white dwarfs that could be uncovered with slightly deeper UV observations of the cluster.
Pace, G.; Recio-Blanco, A.; Piotto, G.; Momany, Y.
Abundance anomalies in hot horizontal branch stars of the Galactic globular cluster NGC 2808
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 452, Issue 2, June III 2006, pp.493-501
Aims.We present metallicity measurements of 25 stars in the blue horizontal branch of the Galactic globular cluster NGC 2808.
Methods: . Our measurements are based on moderate-resolution spectra taken with the multi-object fiber facility FLAMES-UVES, mounted on Kueyen at the Very Large Telescope.
Results: . We confirm that stars hotter than a threshold temperature have super-solar abundance, while the cooler ones respect the nominal metallicity of the cluster, i.e. [Fe/H]≃-1.1. The threshold temperature is estimated to be about 12 000 K, corresponding to the so called u-jump, and coincides with the sudden departure of the cluster horizontal branch from the models. The metallicity increases with temperature for star hotter than the jump, confirming the hypothesis that the process responsible for this abrupt metallic enhancement is the levitation due to the strong radiation field in absence of a significative convective envelope. A metallicity dependence of the abundance enhancement is also suggested, with more metal poor clusters having a higher increase in metal content.
Conclusions: .The slope in the temperature vs. abundance diagram is higher than the errors involved, and the metal content of the cluster plays possibly a role in determining the amplitude of the jump (more metal poor clusters show more enhancement after the jump), although other parameters, such as clusters' characteristics and even the atomic species involved, may also someway contribute.