EDP Sciences
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Volume 399, Number 1, February III 2003
Page(s) 121 - 131
Section Stellar clusters and associations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021788

A&A 399, 121-131 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021788

HST observations of the metal rich globular clusters NGC 6496 and NGC 6352

L. Pulone1, G. De Marchi2, S. Covino3 and F. Paresce4

1  INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via di Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
2  European Space Agency, Space Telescope Operations Division, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore MD 21218, USA
3  INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate (LC), Italy
4  European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748, Garching, Germany

(Received 12 June 2002 / Accepted 27 November 2002 )

Deep exposures of the metal-rich globular clusters NGC 6496 and NGC 6352 were obtained with the WFPC2 camera on board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) through the F606W and F814W filters. The resulting colour-magnitude diagrams (CMD) reach down to absolute magnitude $M_{814} \simeq 10{-}10.5$, approximately 5 magnitudes below the main sequence (MS) turn-off (TO). The MS of the two clusters are sharp and well defined and their fiducial lines overlap almost exactly throughout this range. Their colour is, however, more than 0.1 mag redder than the MS fiducial line of the prototype metal-rich globular cluster 47 Tuc (NGC 104), after proper correction for the relative distances and reddening. This provides solid empirical evidence of a higher metal content, which is not surprising if these objects belong indeed to the bulge as their present location suggests. A good fit to the upper part of the MS of both clusters is obtained with a 10 Gyr-old theoretical isochrone from Baraffe et al. (1998) for a metallicity of $\rm [M/H]=-0.5$, but at lower luminosities all models depart considerably from the observations, probably because of a deficiency in the treatment of the TiO opacity. The luminosity functions (LF) obtained from the observed CMD are rather similar to one another and show a peak at $M_{814}\simeq 9$. The present day mass functions (PDMF) of both clusters are derived down to $M_{814}\simeq 10.5$ or $m \simeq
0.2$ $M_\odot$ and are consistent with power-law indices $\alpha=0.7$ for NGC 6496 and $\alpha=0.6$ for NGC 6352. The PDMF of NGC 104 is twice as steep in the same mass range ( $\alpha=1.4$). We investigate the origin of this discrepancy and show that it can be understood if the two clusters contain a considerably higher fraction of primordial binaries amongst their MS population, similar to that expected in the bulge. We briefly discuss the implications of this finding on the process of star and binary formation and on the universality of the IMF.

Key words: stars: Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) and C-M diagrams -- stars: luminosity function, mass function -- Galaxy: globular clusters: individual: NGC 6496, NGC 6352

Offprint request: L. Pulone, pulone@coma.mporzio.astro.it

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