The Not so Simple Globular Cluster ω Cen. I. Spatial Distribution of the Multiple Stellar Populations

Published

Journal Article

© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We present a multi-band photometric catalog of ≈1.7 million cluster members for a field of view of ≈2° ×2° across ω Cen. Photometry is based on images collected with the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Blanco telescope and the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. The unprecedented photometric accuracy and field coverage allowed us, for the first time, to investigate the spatial distribution of ω Cen multiple populations from the core to the tidal radius, confirming its very complex structure. We found that the frequency of blue main-sequence stars is increasing compared to red main-sequence stars starting from a distance of ≈25′ from the cluster center. Blue main-sequence stars also show a clumpy spatial distribution, with an excess in the northeast quadrant of the cluster pointing toward the direction of the Galactic center. Stars belonging to the reddest and faintest red-giant branch also show a more extended spatial distribution in the outskirts of ω Cen, a region never explored before. Both these stellar sub-populations, according to spectroscopic measurements, are more metal-rich compared to the cluster main stellar population. These findings, once confirmed, make ω Cen the only stellar system currently known where metal-rich stars have a more extended spatial distribution compared to metal-poor stars. Kinematic and chemical abundance measurements are now needed for stars in the external regions of ω Cen to better characterize the properties of these sub-populations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Calamida, A; Strampelli, G; Rest, A; Bono, G; Ferraro, I; Saha, A; Iannicola, G; Scolnic, D; James, D; Smith, C; Zenteno, A

Published Date

  • April 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 153 / 4

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0004-6256

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3847/1538-3881/aa6397

Citation Source

  • Scopus