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Where the Blue Stragglers Roam: Searching for a Link between Formation and Environment
The formation of blue stragglers is still not completely understood,particularly the relationship between formation environment andmechanism. We use a large, homogeneous sample of blue stragglers in thecores of 57 globular clusters to investigate the relationships betweenblue straggler populations and their environments. We use a consistentdefinition of ``blue straggler'' based on position in thecolor-magnitude diagram and normalize the population relative to thenumber of red giant branch stars in the core. We find that thepreviously determined anticorrelation between blue straggler frequencyand total cluster mass is present in the purely core population. We findsome weak anticorrelations with central velocity dispersion and withhalf-mass relaxation time. The blue straggler frequency does not showany trend with any other cluster parameter. Even though collisions maybe expected to be a dominant blue straggler formation process inglobular cluster cores, we find no correlation between the frequency ofblue stragglers and the collision rate in the core. We also investigatedthe blue straggler luminosity function shape and found no relationshipbetween any cluster parameter and the distribution of blue stragglers inthe color-magnitude diagram. Our results are inconsistent with somerecent models of blue straggler formation that include collisionalformation mechanisms and may suggest that almost all observed bluestragglers are formed in binary systems.

Near-Infrared Properties of 24 Globular Clusters in the Galactic Bulge
We present near-IR color-magnitude diagrams and physical parameters fora sample of 24 Galactic globular clusters toward the bulge. In thispaper we discuss the properties of 12 new clusters (out of the 24) inaddition to those previously studied and published by our group. Thecompilation includes measurements of the cluster reddening, distance,photometric metallicity, horizontal branch red clump, and red giantbranch morphological (e.g., mean ridgelines) and evolutionary (e.g.,bump and tip) features. The compilation is available in electronic formon the World Wide Web, and it will be updated regularly.Based on data taken at the ESO New Technology Telescope, within theobserving programs 73.D-0313, 75.D-0372, and 77.D-0757.

Integrated-Light Two Micron All Sky Survey Infrared Photometry of Galactic Globular Clusters
We have mosaicked Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) images to derivesurface brightness profiles in J, H, and Ks for 104 Galacticglobular clusters. We fit these with King profiles and show that thecore radii are identical to within the errors for each of these IRcolors and are identical to the core radii at V in essentially allcases. We derive integrated-light colors V-J, V-H, V-Ks, J-H,and J-Ks for these globular clusters. Each color shows areasonably tight relation between the dereddened colors and metallicity.Fits to these are given for each color. The IR - IR colors have verysmall errors, due largely to the all-sky photometric calibration of the2MASS survey, while the V-IR colors have substantially largeruncertainties. We find fairly good agreement with measurements ofintegrated-light colors for a smaller sample of Galactic globularclusters by M. Aaronson, M. Malkan, and D. Kleinmann from 1977. Ourresults provide a calibration for the integrated light of distantsingle-burst old stellar populations from very low to solarmetallicities. A comparison of our dereddened measured colors withpredictions from several models of the integrated light of single-burstold populations shows good agreement in the low-metallicity domain forV-Ks colors but also shows an offset at a fixed [Fe/H] of~0.1 mag in J-Ks, which we ascribe to photometric systemtransformation issues. Some of the models fail to reproduce the behaviorof the integrated-light colors of the Galactic globular clusters nearsolar metallicity.

VI Photometry of Globular Clusters NGC 6293 and NGC 6541: The Formation of the Metal-poor Inner Halo Globular Clusters
We present VI photometry of the metal-poor inner halo globular clustersNGC 6293 and NGC 6541 using the WFPC2 on board the Hubble SpaceTelescope (HST). Our color-magnitude diagrams of the clusters showwell-defined blue horizontal-branch populations, consistent with theirlow metallicities and old ages. NGC 6293 appears to have blue stragglerstars in the cluster's central region. We discuss the interstellarreddening and the distance modulus of NGC 6293 and NGC 6541 and obtainE(B-V)=0.40 and (m-M)0=14.61 for NGC 6293 and E(B-V)=0.14 and(m-M)0=14.19 for NGC 6541. Our results confirm that NGC 6293and NGC 6541 are clearly located in the Galaxy's central regions(RGC<=3 kpc). We also discuss the differential reddeningacross NGC 6293. The interstellar reddening value of NGC 6293 appears tovary by ΔE(B-V)~0.02-0.04 mag within our small field of view. Themost notable result of our study is that the inner halo clusters NGC6293 and NGC 6541 essentially have the same ages as M92, confirming theprevious result from the HST NIC3 observations of NGC 6287.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated bythe Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., underNASA contract NAS5-26555.

Consistency between deep crustal heating of strange stars in superbursters and soft X-ray transients
Context: .Both superbursters and soft X-ray transients probe the processof deep crustal heating in compact stars. It was recently shown that thetransfer of matter from crust to core in a strange star can heat thecrust and ignite superbursts provided certain constraints on the strangequark matter equation of state are fulfilled. Aims: .We derivecorresponding constraints on the equation of state for soft X-raytransients assuming their quiescent emission is powered in the same way,and further discuss the time dependence of this heating mechanism intransient systems. Methods: .We approach this using a simpleparametrized model for deep crustal heating in strange stars assumingslow neutrino cooling in the core and blackbody photon emission from thesurface. Results: .The constraints derived for hot frequentlyaccreting soft X-ray transients are always consistent with those forsuperbursters. The colder sources are consistent for low values of thequark matter binding energy, heat conductivity and neutrino emissivity.The heating mechanism is very time dependent which may help explain coldsources with long recurrence times. Thus deep crustal heating in strangestars can provide a consistent explanation for superbursters and softX-ray transients.

Global fitting of globular cluster age indicators
Context: .Stellar models and the methods for the age determinations ofglobular clusters are still in need of improvement. Aims: .Weattempt to obtain a more objective method of age determination based oncluster diagrams, avoiding the introduction of biases due to thepreference of one single age indicator. Methods: .We compute newstellar evolutionary tracks and derive the dependence of age indicatingpoints along the tracks and isochrone - such as the turn-off or bumplocation - as a function of age and metallicity. The same criticalpoints are identified in the colour-magnitude diagrams of globularclusters from a homogeneous database. Several age indicators are thenfitted simultaneously, and the overall best-fitting isochrone isselected to determine the cluster age. We also determine thegoodness-of-fit for different sets of indicators to estimate theconfidence level of our results. Results: .We find that ourisochrones provide no acceptable fit for all age indicators. Inparticular, the location of the bump and the brightness of the tip ofthe red giant branch are problematic. On the other hand, the turn-offregion is very well reproduced, and restricting the method to indicatorsdepending on it results in trustworthy ages. Using an alternative set ofisochrones improves the situation, but neither leads to an acceptableglobal fit. Conclusions: .We conclude that evolutionary tracks oflow-mass metal-poor stars are far from reproducing all aspects ofglobular cluster colour-magnitude diagrams and that the determination ofcluster ages still depends on the favourite method or indicator chosen.

The period-luminosity relation for type II Cepheids in globular clusters
We report the result of our near-infrared observations (JHKs)for type II Cepheids (including possible RV Tau stars) in galacticglobular clusters. We detected variations of 46 variables in 26 clusters(10 new discoveries in seven clusters) and present their light curves.Their periods range from 1.2 d to over 80 d. They show a well-definedperiod-luminosity relation at each wavelength. Two type II Cepheids inNGC 6441 also obey the relation if we assume the horizontal branch starsin NGC 6441 are as bright as those in metal-poor globular clusters inspite of the high metallicity of the cluster. This result supports thehigh luminosity which has been suggested for the RR Lyr variables inthis cluster. The period-luminosity relation can be reproduced using thepulsation equation assuming that all the stars have the same mass.Cluster RR Lyr variables were found to lie on an extrapolation of theperiod-luminosity relation. These results provide important constraintson the parameters of the variable stars.Using Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) data, we show that the type IICepheids in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) fit our period-luminosityrelation within the expected scatter at the shorter periods. However, atlong periods (P > 40 d, i.e. in the RV Tau star range) the LMC fieldvariables are brighter by about one magnitude than those of similarperiods in galactic globular clusters. The long-period cluster starsalso differ from both these LMC stars and galactic field RV Tau stars ina colour-colour diagram. The reasons for these differences arediscussed.

Surface Brightness Profiles of Galactic Globular Clusters from Hubble Space Telescope Images
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) allows us to study the central surfacebrightness profiles of globular clusters at unprecedented detail. Wehave mined the HST archives to obtain 38 WFPC2 images of Galacticglobular clusters with adequate exposure times and filters, which we useto measure their central structure. We outline a reliable method toobtain surface brightness profiles from integrated light that we test onan extensive set of simulated images. Most clusters have central surfacebrightness about 0.5 mag brighter than previous measurements made fromground-based data, with the largest differences around 2 mag. Includingthe uncertainties in the slope estimates, the surface brightness slopedistribution is consistent with half of the sample having flat cores andthe remaining half showing a gradual decline from 0 to -0.8[dlogΣ/dlogr)]. We deproject the surface brightness profiles in anonparametric way to obtain luminosity density profiles. Thedistribution of luminosity density logarithmic slopes shows similarfeatures, with half of the sample between -0.4 and -1.8. These resultsare in contrast to our theoretical bias that the central regions ofglobular clusters are either isothermal (i.e., flat central profiles) orvery steep (i.e., luminosity density slope approximately -1.6) forcore-collapse clusters. With only 50% of our sample having centralprofiles consistent with isothermal cores, King models appear torepresent most globular clusters in their cores poorly.

Manganese Abundances in Cluster and Field Stars
We have derived Mn abundances for more than 200 stars in 19 globularclusters. In addition, Mn abundance determinations have been made for acomparable number of halo field and disk stars possessing an overlappingrange of metallicities and stellar parameters. Our primary data set wascomprised of high-resolution spectra previously acquired at theMcDonald, Lick, and Keck Observatories. To enlarge our data pool, weacquired globular and open cluster spectra from several otherinvestigators. Data were analyzed using synthetic spectra of the 6000Å Mn I triplet. Hyperfine structure parameters were included inthe synthetic spectra computations. Our analysis shows that for themetallicity range -0.7>[Fe/H]>-2.7, stars of 19 globular clustershave a mean relative abundance of <[Mn/Fe]>=-0.37+/-0.01(σ=0.10), a value in agreement with that of the field stars,<[Mn/Fe]>=-0.36+/-0.01 (σ=0.08). Despite the 2 orders ofmagnitude span in metallicity, the <[Mn/Fe]> ratio remainsconstant in both stellar populations. Our Mn abundance data indicatethat there is no appreciable variation in the relative nucleosyntheticcontribution from massive stars that undergo core-collapse supernovaeand thus no significant change of the associated initial mass functionin the specified metallicity range.

Chemical Compositions of Red Giant Stars in Old Large Magellanic Cloud Globular Clusters
We have observed 10 red giant stars in four old Large Magellanic Cloudglobular clusters with the high-resolution spectrograph MIKE on theMagellan Landon Clay 6.5 m telescope. The stars in our sample have up to20 elemental abundance determinations for the α-, iron peak, andneutron-capture element groups. We have also derived abundances for thelight odd-Z elements Na and Al. We find NGC 2005 and NGC 2019 to be moremetal-rich than previous estimates from the Ca II triplet, and we derive[Fe/H] values closer to those obtained from the slope of the red giantbranch. However, we confirm previous determinations for Hodge 11 and NGC1898 to within 0.2 dex. The LMC cluster [Mg/Fe] and [Si/Fe] ratios arecomparable to the values observed in old Galactic globular clusterstars, as are the abundances [Y/Fe], [Ba/Fe], and [Eu/Fe]. The LMCclusters do not share the low-Y behavior observed in some dwarfspheroidal galaxies. [Ca/Fe], [Ti/Fe], and [V/Fe] in the LMC, however,are significantly lower than what is seen in the Galactic globularcluster system. Neither does the behavior of [Cu/Fe] as a function of[Fe/H] in our LMC clusters match the trend seen in the Galaxy, stayinginstead at a constant value of roughly -0.8. Because not all[α/Fe] ratios are suppressed, these abundance ratios cannot beattributed solely to the injection of Type Ia supernova material andinstead reflect the differences in star formation history of the LMCversus the Milky Way. An extensive numerical experimental study wasperformed, varying both input parameters and stellar atmosphere models,to verify that the unusual abundance ratios derived in this study arenot the result of the adopted atomic parameters, stellar atmospheres, orstellar parameters. We conclude that many of the abundances in the LMCglobular clusters we observed are distinct from those observed in theMilky Way, and these differences are intrinsic to the stars in thosesystems.

Globular cluster system and Milky Way properties revisited
Aims.Updated data of the 153 Galactic globular clusters are used toreaddress fundamental parameters of the Milky Way, such as the distanceof the Sun to the Galactic centre, the bulge and halo structuralparameters, and cluster destruction rates. Methods: .We build areduced sample that has been decontaminated of all the clusters youngerthan 10 Gyr and of those with retrograde orbits and/or evidence ofrelation to dwarf galaxies. The reduced sample contains 116 globularclusters that are tested for whether they were formed in the primordialcollapse. Results: .The 33 metal-rich globular clusters([Fe/H]≥-0.75) of the reduced sample basically extend to the Solarcircle and are distributed over a region with the projected axial-ratiostypical of an oblate spheroidal, Δ x:Δ y:Δz≈1.0:0.9:0.4. Those outside this region appear to be related toaccretion. The 81 metal-poor globular clusters span a nearly sphericalregion of axial-ratios ≈1.0:1.0:0.8 extending from the central partsto the outer halo, although several clusters in the external regionstill require detailed studies to unravel their origin as accretion orcollapse. A new estimate of the Sun's distance to the Galactic centre,based on the symmetries of the spatial distribution of 116 globularclusters, is provided with a considerably smaller uncertainty than inprevious determinations using globular clusters, R_O=7.2±0.3 kpc.The metal-rich and metal-poor radial-density distributions flatten forR_GC≤2 kpc and are represented well over the full Galactocentricdistance range both by a power-law with a core-like term andSérsic's law; at large distances they fall off as ˜R-3.9. Conclusions: .Both metallicity components appearto have a common origin that is different from that of the dark matterhalo. Structural similarities between the metal-rich and metal-poorradial distributions and the stellar halo are consistent with a scenariowhere part of the reduced sample was formed in the primordial collapseand part was accreted in an early period of merging. This applies to thebulge as well, suggesting an early merger affecting the central parts ofthe Galaxy. The present decontamination procedure is not sensitive toall accretions (especially prograde) during the first Gyr, since theobserved radial density profiles still preserve traces of the earliestmerger(s). We estimate that the present globular cluster populationcorresponds to ≤23±6% of the original one. The fact that thevolume-density radial distributions of the metal-rich and metal-poorglobular clusters of the reduced sample follow both a core-likepower-law, and Sérsic's law indicates that we are dealing withspheroidal subsystems at all scales.

Nearby Spiral Globular Cluster Systems. I. Luminosity Functions
We compare the near-infrared (JHK) globular cluster luminosity functions(GCLFs) of the Milky Way, M31, and the Sculptor Group spiral galaxies.We obtained near-infrared photometry with the Persson's AuxiliaryNasmyth Infrared Camera on the Baade Telescope for 38 objects (mostlyglobular cluster candidates) in the Sculptor Group. We also havenear-infrared photometry from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)-6Xdatabase for 360 M31 globular cluster candidates and aperture photometryfor 96 Milky Way globular cluster candidates from the 2MASS All-Sky andSecond Incremental Release databases. The M31 6X GCLFs peak at absolutereddening-corrected magnitudes of MJ0=-9.18,MH0=-9.73, and MK0=-9.98.The mean brightness of the Milky Way objects is consistent with that ofM31 after accounting for incompleteness. The average Sculptor absolutemagnitudes (correcting for relative distance from the literature andforeground reddening) are MJ0=-9.18,MH0=-9.70, and MK0=-9.80.NGC 300 alone has absolute foreground-dereddened magnitudesMJ0=-8.87, MH0=-9.39, andMK0=-9.46 using the newest Gieren et al. distance.This implies either that the NGC 300 GCLF may be intrinsically fainterthan that of the larger galaxy M31 or that NGC 300 may be slightlyfarther away than previously thought. Straightforward application of ourM31 GCLF results as a calibrator gives NGC 300 distance moduli of26.68+/-0.14 using J, 26.71+/-0.14 using H, and 26.89+/-0.14 using K.Data for this project were obtained at the Baade 6.5 m telescope, LasCampanas Observatory, Chile.

RR Lyrae-based calibration of the Globular Cluster Luminosity Function
We test whether the peak absolute magnitude MV(TO) of theGlobular Cluster Luminosity Function (GCLF) can be used for reliableextragalactic distance determination. Starting with the luminosityfunction of the Galactic Globular Clusters listed in Harris catalogue,we determine MV(TO) either using current calibrations of theabsolute magnitude MV(RR) of RR Lyrae stars as a function ofthe cluster metal content [Fe/H] and adopting selected cluster samples.We show that the peak magnitude is slightly affected by the adoptedMV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation, with the exception of that based onthe revised Baade-Wesselink method, while it depends on the criteria toselect the cluster sample. Moreover, grouping the Galactic GlobularClusters by metallicity, we find that the metal-poor (MP) ([Fe/H]<-1.0, <[Fe/H]>~-1.6) sample shows peak magnitudes systematicallybrighter by about 0.36mag than those of the metal-rich (MR) ([Fe/H]>-1.0, (<[Fe/H]>~-0.6) one, in substantial agreement with thetheoretical metallicity effect suggested by synthetic Globular Clusterpopulations with constant age and mass function. Moving outside theMilky Way, we show that the peak magnitude of the MP clusters in M31appears to be consistent with that of Galactic clusters with similarmetallicity, once the same MV(RR)-[Fe/H] relation is used fordistance determination. As for the GCLFs in other external galaxies,using Surface Brightness Fluctuations (SBF) measurements we giveevidence that the luminosity functions of the blue (MP) GlobularClusters peak at the same luminosity within ~0.2mag, whereas for the red(MR) samples the agreement is within ~0.5mag even accounting for thetheoretical metallicity correction expected for clusters with similarages and mass distributions. Then, using the SBF absolute magnitudesprovided by a Cepheid distance scale calibrated on a fiducial distanceto Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), we show that the MV(TO)value of the MP clusters in external galaxies is in excellent agreementwith the value of both Galactic and M31 ones, as inferred by an RR Lyraedistance scale referenced to the same LMC fiducial distance. Eventually,adopting μ0(LMC) = 18.50mag, we derive that the luminosityfunction of MP clusters in the Milky Way, M31, and external galaxiespeak at MV(TO) =-7.66 +/- 0.11, - 7.65 +/- 0.19 and -7.67 +/-0.23mag, respectively. This would suggest a value of -7.66 +/- 0.09mag(weighted mean), with any modification of the LMC distance modulusproducing a similar variation of the GCLF peak luminosity.

Resolved Massive Star Clusters in the Milky Way and Its Satellites: Brightness Profiles and a Catalog of Fundamental Parameters
We present a database of structural and dynamical properties for 153spatially resolved star clusters in the Milky Way, the Large and SmallMagellanic Clouds, and the Fornax dwarf spheroidal. This databasecomplements and extends others in the literature, such as those ofHarris and Mackey & Gilmore. Our cluster sample comprises 50 ``youngmassive clusters'' in the LMC and SMC, and 103 old globular clustersbetween the four galaxies. The parameters we list include central andhalf-light-averaged surface brightnesses and mass densities; core andeffective radii; central potentials, concentration parameters, and tidalradii; predicted central velocity dispersions and escape velocities;total luminosities, masses, and binding energies; central phase-spacedensities; half-mass relaxation times; and ``κ-space'' parameters.We use publicly available population-synthesis models to computestellar-population properties (intrinsic B-V colors, reddenings, andV-band mass-to-light ratios) for the same 153 clusters plus another 63globulars in the Milky Way. We also take velocity-dispersionmeasurements from the literature for a subset of 57 (mostly old)clusters to derive dynamical mass-to-light ratios for them, showing thatthese compare very well to the population-synthesis predictions. Thecombined data set is intended to serve as the basis for futureinvestigations of structural correlations and the fundamental plane ofmassive star clusters, including especially comparisons between thesystemic properties of young and old clusters.The structural and dynamical parameters are derived from fitting threedifferent models-the modified isothermal sphere of King; an alternatemodified isothermal sphere based on the ad hoc stellar distributionfunction of Wilson; and asymptotic power-law models withconstant-density cores-to the surface-brightness profile of eachcluster. Surface-brightness data for the LMC, SMC, and Fornax clustersare based in large part on the work of Mackey & Gilmore, but includesignificant supplementary data culled from the literature and importantcorrections to Mackey & Gilmore's V-band magnitude scale. Theprofiles of Galactic globular clusters are taken from Trager et al. Weaddress the question of which model fits each cluster best, finding inthe majority of cases that the Wilson models-which are spatially moreextended than King models but still include a finite, ``tidal'' cutoffin density-fit clusters of any age, in any galaxy, as well as or betterthan King models. Untruncated, asymptotic power laws often fit about aswell as Wilson models but can be significantly worse. We argue that theextended halos known to characterize many Magellanic Cloud clusters maybe examples of the generic envelope structure of self-gravitating starclusters, not just transient features associated strictly with youngage.

A Comparison of Elemental Abundance Ratios in Globular Clusters, Field Stars, and Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies
We have compiled a sample of globular clusters with high-quality stellarabundances from the literature to compare to the chemistries of stars inthe Galaxy and in dwarf spheroidal galaxies. Of the 45 globular clustersexamined, 29 also have kinematic information. Most of the globularclusters belong to the Galactic halo; however, a significant number havedisk kinematics or belong to the bulge. Focusing on the [α/Fe] andlight r-process element ratios, we find that most globular cluster starsmimic field stars of similar metallicities, and neither clearlyresembles the currently available stellar abundances in dwarf galaxies(including globular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud). Theexceptions to these general elemental ratio comparisons are alreadyknown in the literature, e.g., ω Centauri, Palomar 12, and Terzan7 associated with the Sagittarius remnant and Ruprecht 106, which has ahigh radial velocity and low [α/Fe] ratio. A few other globularclusters show more marginal peculiarities. The most notable one is thehalo cluster M68, which has a high galactocentric rotational velocity, aslightly younger age, and a unique [Si/Ti] ratio. The [Si/Ti] ratiosdecrease with increasing [Fe/H] at intermediate metallicities, which isconsistent with very massive stars playing a larger role in the earlychemical evolution of the Galaxy. The chemical similarities betweenglobular clusters and field stars with [Fe/H]<=-1.0 suggests a sharedchemical history in a well-mixed early Galaxy. The differences in thepublished chemistries of stars in the dwarf spheroidal galaxies suggestthat neither the globular clusters, halo stars, nor thick disk stars hadtheir origins in small isolated systems like the present-day Milky Waydwarf satellites.

On the origin of the radial mass density profile of the Galactic halo globular cluster system
We investigate what may be the origin of the presently observed spatialdistribution of the mass of the Galactic Old Halo globular clustersystem. We propose its radial mass density profile to be a relic of thedistribution of the cold baryonic material in the protogalaxy. Assumingthat this one arises from the profile of the whole protogalaxy minus thecontribution of the dark matter (and a small contribution of the hot gasby which the protoglobular clouds were bound), we show that the massdistributions around the Galactic centre of this cold gas and of the OldHalo agree satisfactorily. In order to demonstrate our hypothesis evenmore conclusively, we simulate the evolution with time, up to an age of15Gyr, of a putative globular cluster system whose initial massdistribution in the Galactic halo follows the profile of the coldprotogalactic gas. We show that beyond a galactocentric distance oforder 2-3kpc, the initial shape of such a mass density profile ispreserved despite the complete destruction of some globular clusters andthe partial evaporation of some others. This result is almostindependent of the choice of the initial mass function for the globularclusters, which is still ill determined. The shape of these evolvedcluster system mass density profiles also agrees with the presentlyobserved profile of the Old Halo globular cluster system, thusstrengthening our hypothesis. Our result might suggest that theflattening shown by the Old Halo mass density profile at short distancesfrom the Galactic centre is, at least partly, of primordial origin.

Chemical Abundances for Seven Giant Stars in M68 (NGC 4590): A Globular Cluster with Abnormal Silicon and Titanium Abundances
We present a detailed chemical abundance study of seven giant stars inM68, including six red giants and one post-asymptotic giant branch (AGB)star. We find significant differences in the gravities determined usingphotometry and those obtained from ionization balance, which suggeststhat non-LTE (NLTE) affects are important for these low-gravity,metal-poor stars. We adopt an iron abundance using photometric gravitiesand Fe II lines to minimize those effects, finding [Fe/H]=-2.16+/-0.02(σ=0.04). For element-to-iron ratios, we rely on neutral linesversus Fe I and ionized lines versus Fe II (except for [O/Fe]) to alsominimize NLTE effects. We find variations in the abundances of sodiumamong the program stars. However, there is no correlation (oranticorrelation) with the oxygen abundances. Furthermore, the post-AGBstar has a normal (low) abundance of sodium. Both of these facts addfurther support to the idea that the variations seen among some lightelements within individual globular clusters arise from primordialvariations and not from deep mixing. M68, like M15, shows elevatedabundances of silicon compared with other globular clusters andcomparable-metallicity field stars. But M68 deviates even more inshowing a relative underabundance of titanium. We speculate that in M68titanium is behaving like an iron-peak element rather than its morecommonly observed adherence to enhancements seen in the so-calledα-elements such as magnesium, silicon, and calcium. We interpretthis result as implying that the chemical enrichment seen in M68 mayhave arisen from contributions from supernovae with somewhat moremassive progenitors than those that contribute to abundances normallyseen in other globular clusters. The neutron capture elements barium andeuropium vary among the stars in M15, according to earlier work bySneden et al., but [Ba/Eu] is relatively constant, suggesting that bothelements arise in the same nucleosynthesis events. M68 shares the same[Ba/Eu] ratio as the stars in M15, but the average abundance ratio ofthese elements, as well as lanthanum, are lower in M68 relative to ironthan in M15, implying a slightly weaker contribution of r-processnucleosynthesis in M68.

Ages and metallicities of star clusters: New calibrations and diagnostic diagrams from visible integrated spectra
We present homogeneous scales of ages and metallicities for starclusters from very young objects, through intermediate-age ones up tothe oldest known clusters. All the selected clusters have integratedspectra in the visible range, as well as reliable determinations oftheir ages and metallicities. From these spectra equivalent widths (EWs)of K Ca II, G band (CH) and Mg I metallic, and Hδ, Hγ andHβ Balmer lines have been measured homogeneously. The analysis ofthese EWs shows that the EW sums of the metallic and Balmer H lines,separately, are good indicators of cluster age for objects younger than10 Gyr, and that the former is also sensitive to cluster metallicity forages greater than 10 Gyr. We propose an iterative procedure forestimating cluster ages by employing two new diagnostic diagrams and agecalibrations based on the above EW sums. For clusters older than 10 Gyr,we also provide a calibration to derive their overall metal contents.

Heavy elements and chemical enrichment in globular clusters
High resolution (R  40 000) and high S/N spectra have been acquiredwith UVES on the VLT-Kueyen (Paranal Observatory, ESO Chile) for severalmain sequence turnoff stars (V ˜ 17 mag) and subgiants at the baseof the Red Giant Branch (V ˜ 16 mag) in three globular clusters (NGC6397, NGC 6752 and 47 Tuc/NGC 104) at different metallicities(respectively [Fe/H] ≃ -2.0; -1.5; -0.7). Spectra for a sample of25 field halo subdwarves have also been taken with equal resolution, buthigher S/N. These data have been used to determine the abundances ofseveral neutron-capture elements in these three clusters: strontium,yttrium, barium and europium. This is the first abundance determinationof these heavy elements for such unevolved stars in these three globularclusters. These values, together with the [Ba/Eu] and [Sr/Ba] abundanceratios, have been used to test the self-enrichment scenario. Acomparison is done with field halo stars and other well known Galacticglobular clusters in which heavy elements have already been measured inthe past, at least in bright giants (V  11-12 mag). Our resultsshow clearly that globular clusters have been uniformly enriched by r-and s-process syntheses, and that most of them seem to follow exactlythe same abundance patterns as field halo stars, which discards the``classical'' self-enrichment scenario for the origin of metallicitiesand heavy elements in globular clusters.Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory with theVLT-UT2, Paranal, Chile (ESO-LP 165.L-0263).

Optical and X-ray observations of the neutron star soft X-ray transient XTE J1709-267
In this paper we report on the discovery of the optical counterpart tothe neutron star soft X-ray transient (SXT) XTE J1709-267 at an R-bandmagnitude of R= 20.5 +/- 0.1 and 22.24 +/- 0.03, in outburst andquiescence, respectively. We further report the detection of type IX-ray bursts in RXTE data obtained during an outburst of the source in2002. These bursts show a precursor before the onset of the main burstevent, reminiscent of photospheric radius expansion bursts. Siftingthrough the archival RXTE data for the burster 4U 1636-53, we found anearly identical burst with precursor in 4U 1636-53. A comparison ofthis burst to true photospheric radius expansion bursts in 4U 1636-53leads us to conclude that these bursts-with-precursor do not reach theEddington limit. Nevertheless, from the burst properties we can derivethat the distance to XTE J1709-267 is consistent with the distance ofthe Globular Cluster NGC 6293. We further report on the analysis of a22.7 ks observation of XTE J1709-267 obtained with the Chandra satellitewhen the source was in quiescence. We found that the source has a softquiescent spectrum which can be fit well by an absorbed black body orneutron star atmosphere model. A power law contributes less than ~20 percent to the 0.5-10 keV unabsorbed flux of (1.0 +/- 0.3) ×10-13 erg cm-2 s-1. This flux is onlyslightly lower than the flux measured right after the outburst in 2002.This is in contrast to the recent findings for MXB 1659-29, where thequiescent source flux decreased gradually by a factor of ~7-9 over aperiod of 18 months. Finally, we compared the fractional power-lawcontribution to the unabsorbed 0.5-10 keV luminosity for neutron starSXTs in quiescence for which the distance is well-known. We find thatthe power-law contribution is low only when the source quiescentluminosity is close to ~1-2 × 1033 erg s-1.Both at higher and lower values the power-law contribution to the 0.5-10keV luminosity increases. We discuss how models for the quiescent X-rayemission can explain these trends.

Infrared Echelle Spectroscopy of Palomar 6 and M71
We present high-resolution infrared echelle spectroscopy for theglobular clusters Palomar 6 and M71. Our mean heliocentric radialvelocity of Pal 6 is +180.6+/-3.2 km s-1 and is 20 kms-1 lower than that found by Minniti in 1995. Contrary to theprevious metallicity estimates using low-resolution spectroscopy, ourresults show that Pal 6 has an intermediate metallicity, with[Fe/H]=-1.0+/-0.1, and is slightly more metal poor than M71. Reasonablechanges in the surface temperature or the microturbulent velocity of themodel atmospheres do not affect [Fe/H] at more than +/-0.2 dex. In spiteof its high metallicity, on the basis of the spectrum of a singlecluster member the [Si/Fe] and [Ti/Fe] ratios of Pal 6 appear to beenhanced by 0.4 and 0.5 dex, respectively, suggesting that the Galacticinner halo may have experienced a very rapid chemical enrichmenthistory.Based on observations made with the Infrared Telescope Facility, whichis operated by the University of Hawaii under contract to the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration.

Abundance Variations Within Globular Clusters
Abundance variations within globular clusters (GCs), and of GC starswith respect to field stars, are important diagnostics of a variety ofphysical phenomena, related to the evolution of individual stars, masstransfer in binary systems, and chemical evolution in high densityenvironments. The broad astrophysical implications of GCs as buildingblocks of our knowledge of the Universe make a full understanding oftheir history and evolution basic in a variety of astrophysical fields.We review the current status of the research in this field, comparingthe abundances in GCs with those obtained for field stars, discussing indepth the evidence for H-burning at high temperatures in GC stars,describing the process of self-enrichment in GCs with particularreference to the case of the most massive Galactic GC ( Cen), anddiscussing various classes of cluster stars with abundance anomalies.Whereas the overall pattern might appear very complex at first sight,exciting new scenarios are opening where the interplay between GCdynamical and chemical properties are closely linked with each other.

Chemical composition and evolutionary status of nine UV-bright stars in five globular clusters from VLT/UVES spectra
We have derived the chemical composition of nine UV-bright starsbelonging to five Galactic globular clusters of various metallicities([Fe/H] from -1.0 to -2.4 dex). The analyses are based on highresolution spectra obtained with the UV-Visual Echelle Spectrograph(UVES) at VLT-UT2. The evolutionary status of the stars is assessed fromthe chemical analysis and location in the H-R diagram. The star ID7 inNGC 5986 is confirmed as a bona fide post-asymptotic giant branch star(post-AGB) whereas the high-luminosity star ID6 has probably left theAGB before the third dredge-up. ZNG 1 in NGC 6712 shows an overabundanceof sodium, oxygen, and silicon similar to overabundances we find in theUV-bright star ID6 in NGC 5986; both stars could be in a post-early-AGB(PEAGB) phase of evolution. The UV-bright star ZNG 7 in NGC 6218 seemsto be an AGB star. The stars V-4 and ZNG 5 in NGC 6656 are in apost-horizontal-branch phase of evolution, with V-4 being significantlyoverabundant in heavy elements. The origin of these overabundances isdiscussed in the context of the evolutionary versus primordial scenario.The three UV-bright stars K 260, K 996 and K 1082 observed in the verymetal-deficient globular cluster NGC 7078 are post-horizontal-branchstars, one of them being slightly enriched in s-elements but with aluminosity too low for third dredge-up to have occured. The abundancepatterns of K 1082 in NGC 7078 seem to indicate the presence of milddiffusion and a radiative levitation process, already reported in theblue HB stars of M 13 (Behr et al. \cite{Behr1999}, ApJ, 517, L135) andNGC 6752 (Moehler et al. \cite{Moehler1999}, A&A, 339, 537).Based on data collected at Paranal Observatory (ESO, Chile), programidentifier ID 69.D-0081.Full Table \ref{abund} is only available in electronic form at the CDSvia anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/423/353Appendix is only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org

The initial helium abundance of the Galactic globular cluster system
In this paper we estimate the initial He content in about 30% of theGalactic globular clusters (GGCs) from new star counts we have performedon the recently published HST snapshot database of Colour MagnitudeDiagrams (Piotto et al. \cite{Piotto02}). More specifically, we use theso-called R-parameter and estimate the He content from a theoreticalcalibration based on a recently updated set of stellar evolution models.We performed an accurate statistical analysis in order to assess whetherGGCs show a statistically significant spread in their initial Heabundances, and whether there is a correlation with the clustermetallicity. As in previous works on the subject, we do not find anysignificant dependence of the He abundance on the cluster metallicity;this provides an important constraint for models of Galaxy formation andevolution. Apart from GGCs with the bluest Horizontal Branch morphology,the observed spread in the individual helium abundances is statisticallycompatible with the individual errors. This means that either there isno intrinsic abundance spread among the GGCs, or that this is masked bythe errors. In the latter case we have estimated a firm 1σ upperlimit of 0.019 to the possible intrinsic spread. In case of the GGCswith the bluest Horizontal Branch morphology we detect a significantspread towards higher abundances inconsistent with the individualerrors; this can be fully explained by additional effects not accountedfor in our theoretical calibrations, which do not affect the abundancesestimated for the clusters with redder Horizontal Branch morphology. Inthe hypothesis that the intrinsic dispersion on the individual Heabundances is zero, taking into account the errors on the individualR-parameter estimates, as well as the uncertainties on the clustermetallicity scale and theoretical calibration, we have determined aninitial He abundance mass fraction YGGC=0.250±0.006.This value is in perfect agreement with current estimates based onCosmic Microwave Background radiation analyses and cosmologicalnucleosynthesis computations.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA,Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved withthe ESO ST-ECF Archive.

On the origin of red giant depletion through low-velocity collisions
We investigate a means of explaining the apparent paucity of red giantstars within post-core-collapse globular clusters. We propose thatcollisions between the red giants and binary systems can lead to thedestruction of some proportion of the red giant population, by eitherknocking out the core of the red giant or by forming a common envelopesystem which will lead to the dissipation of the red giant envelope.Treating the red giant as two point masses, one for the core and anotherfor the envelope (with an appropriate force law to take account of thedistribution of mass), and the components of the binary system alsotreated as point masses, we utilize a four-body code to calculate thetime-scales on which the collisions will occur. We then perform a seriesof smooth particle hydrodynamics runs to examine the details of masstransfer within the system. In addition, we show that collisions betweensingle stars and red giants lead to the formation of a common envelopesystem which will destroy the red giant star. We find that low-velocitycollision between binary systems and red giants can lead to thedestruction of up to 13 per cent of the red giant population. This couldhelp to explain the colour gradients observed in PCC globular clusters.We also find that there is the possibility that binary systems formedthrough both sorts of collision could eventually come into contactperhaps producing a population of cataclysmic variables.

The Red Giant Branch luminosity function bump
We present observational estimates of the magnitude difference betweenthe luminosity function red giant branch bump and the horizontal branch(Delta F555WbumpHB), and of star counts in thebump region (Rbump), for a sample of 54 Galactic globularclusters observed by the HST. The large sample of stars resolved in eachcluster, and the high photometric accuracy of the data allowed us todetect the bump also in a number of metal poor clusters. To reduce thephotometric uncertainties, empirical values are compared withtheoretical predictions obtained from a set of updated canonical stellarevolution models which have been transformed directly into the HSTflight system. We found an overall qualitative agreement between theoryand observations. Quantitative estimates of the confidence level arehampered by current uncertainties on the globular cluster metallicityscale, and by the strong dependence of DeltaF555WbumpHB on the cluster metallicity. In case ofthe Rbump parameter, which is only weakly affected by themetallicity, we find a very good quantitative agreement betweentheoretical canonical models and observations. For our full clustersample the average difference between predicted and observedRbump values is practically negligible, and ranges from-0.002 to -0.028, depending on the employed metallicity scale. Theobserved dispersion around these values is entirely consistent with theobservational errors on Rbump. As a comparison, the value ofRbump predicted by theory in case of spurious bump detectionsdue to Poisson noise in the stellar counts would be ~ 0.10 smaller thanthe observed ones. We have also tested the influence on the predictedDelta F555WbumpHB and Rbump values ofan He-enriched component in the cluster stellar population, as recentlysuggested by D'Antona et al. (\cite{d02}). We find that, underreasonable assumptions concerning the size of this He-enrichedpopulation and the degree of enrichment, the predicted DeltaF555WbumpHB and Rbump values are onlymarginally affected.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA,Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and on observations retrieved withthe ESO ST-ECF Archive.

The Metallicity of Pregalactic Globular Clusters: The Observational Consequences of the First Stars
We explore a scenario in which metal-poor globular clusters (GCs) areenriched by the first supernovae in the universe. If the first stars ina 107 Msolar dark halo were very massive (>180Msolar), then a pair-instability supernova from a singlemassive star could produce sufficient iron to enrich 106Msolar of pristine, primordial gas to [Fe/H]~-2. In such ascenario, in which a single massive star acts as a seed for halo GCs, anaccurate abundance analysis of GC stars would allow us to directlymeasure the Population III initial mass. Using the latest theoreticalyields for zero-metallicity stars in the mass range of 140-260Msolar, we find that the metals expelled from an ~230Msolar star are consistent with [Si/Fe] and [Ca/Fe] observedin GC stars. However, no single star in this mass range cansimultaneously explain all halo GC heavy-element abundance ratios, suchas [V/Fe], [Ti/Fe], and [Ni/Fe]. These require a combination of massesfor the Population III stellar progenitors. The various observationalconsequences of this scenario are discussed.

Chandra observations of the neutron star soft X-ray transient RX J170930.2 - 263927 returning to quiescence
We present our analysis of Chandra observations obtained when the softX-ray transient RX J170930.2 - 263927 (XTE J1709 - 267) returned toquiescence after an outburst. Using the type I burst peak luminosityfound by Cocchi et al. and the value of NH we derived fromour spectral fits, the distance to RX J170930.2 - 263927 can beconstrained to 2.5-10 kpc. RX J170930.2 - 263927 is probably associatedwith the low-metallicity globular cluster NGC 6293, which has a tidalradius of 14.2 arcmin, as the projected distance to the centre of thecluster is approximately 25 pc (9-10 arcmin). If the association iscorrect, RX J170930.2 - 263927 would be at ~8.5 kpc. We determined thatLoutburst/Lquiescence>~ 105 for thisoutburst. If the quiescent luminosity is caused by cooling of theneutron star core then enhanced core cooling processes were at work,implying a neutron star mass of ~1.7-1.8 Msolar. Combiningour Chandra observations with archival ROSAT observations we show thatthe source very probably exhibits periods of sustained low-levelaccretion. Variable, low-level activity could provide an alternativeexplanation for some of the sources in the recently proposed category offaint soft X-ray transients. We found excess emission at ~0.6 keV. Ifsuch an excess is a unique feature of ultracompact systems, as wasrecently proposed, RX J170930.2 - 263927 must have a short orbitalperiod as well. From the constraints on the distance and thenon-detection of the optical counterpart with mV < 20.5,we conclude that this system must have a low-mass companion.

Globular Clusters as Candidates for Gravitational Lenses to Explain Quasar-Galaxy Associations
We argue that globular clusters (GCs) are good candidates forgravitational lenses in explaining quasar-galaxy associations. Thecatalog of associations (Bukhmastova 2001) compiled from the LEDAcatalog of galaxies (Paturel 1997) and from the catalog of quasars(Veron-Cetty and Veron 1998) is used. Based on the new catalog, we showthat one might expect an increased number of GCs around irregulargalaxies of types 9 and 10 from the hypothesis that distant compactsources are gravitationally lensed by GCs in the halos of foregroundgalaxies. The King model is used to determine the central surfacedensities of 135 GCs in the Milky Way. The distribution of GCs incentral surface density was found to be lognormal.

Chemical Abundances of Three Metal-poor Globular Clusters (NGC 6287, NGC 6293, and NGC 6541) in the Inner Halo
We present a chemical abundance study of three inner old halo clusters,NGC 6287, 6293, and 6541, finding [Fe/H]=-2.01+/-0.05, -1.99+/-0.02, and-1.76+/-0.02 (internal), respectively, and our metallicity measurementsare in good agreement with previous estimates. We also present theradial velocity measurements of the clusters. Our radial velocitymeasurements for NGC 6293 and NGC 6541 are in good agreement withprevious measurements; however, our radial velocity measurement for NGC6287 is almost 80 km s-1 larger than the previousmeasurement. The mean α-element abundances of our program clustersare in good agreement with other globular clusters, confirming previousresults. However, the individual α-elements appear to followdifferent trends. The silicon abundances of the inner halo clustersappear to be enhanced, and the titanium abundances appear to be depletedcompared to the intermediate halo clusters. Our results also appear tooppose to those of metal-rich bulge giants studied by McWilliam &Rich, who found that bulge giants are titanium-enhanced andsilicon-deficient. In particular, [Si/Ti] ratios appear to be related toGalactocentric distances, in the sense that [Si/Ti] ratios decrease withGalactocentric distance. We propose that contributions from differentmasses of the Type II supernovae progenitors that enrichedproto-globular cluster clouds' elemental abundances and the differentinitial physical environments surrounding the proto-globular clustersclouds are responsible for this gradient in [Si/Ti] ratios versusGalactocentric distances of the ``old halo'' globular clusters. On theother hand, our program clusters' enhanced s-process elementalabundances suggest that the formation timescale of our program clustersmight be as short as a few times 108 yr after the starformation is initiated in the Galaxy's central regions, if the s-processsite is intermediate-mass asymptotic giant branch stars.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:17h10m10.42s
Apparent magnitude:8.2

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NGC 2000.0NGC 6293

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