Volume 557, September 2013
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||20 September 2013|
The fraction of first- and second-generation stars in globular clusters
I. The case of NGC 6752⋆
INAF − Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1 40127 Bologna Italy
Received: 19 June 2013
Accepted: 16 July 2013
We present a new method of estimating the percentage of stars with the chemical composition of first and second generations currently hosted in Galactic globular clusters (GCs). We compared cluster and field stars of similar metallicity in the [Fe/H]-[Na/H] plane. Since the phenomenon of multiple populations is only restricted to the cluster environment, the number of GC stars whose location coincides with that of field stars provides the percentage of first-generation stars in that cluster. By exclusion, the number of second-generation stars is derived. We assembled a dataset of 1891 field stars of the thin disk, thick disk, and halo of the Milky Way in the metallicity range − 3.15 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ + 0.48 dex and with Na abundance from high resolution spectra. They are mostly dwarfs, but include giants. Considering only the range in metallicity spanned by most GCs extensively studied for the Na-O anticorrelation (−2.36 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ − 0.33 dex), we have 804 stars. The total sample is homogeneized by offsets in [Fe/H] and [Na/H] with respect to a reference sample using the same line list and non-local thermodynamic equilibrum (NLTE) correction for Na adopted in a recent extensive survey of GC stars. This fully accounts for offsets among analyses due to different temperature scales, line lists, adopted (or neglected) corrections for departures from LTE. We illustrate our method estimating the number of first- and second-generation stars in the well studied GC NGC 6752. As a by-product, the comparison of [Na/H] values in GC and field stars suggests that at least two classes of old stellar systems probably contributed to the halo assembly: one group with characteristics similar to the currently existing GCs, and the other more like the present-day dwarf satellite galaxies.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: Population II / Galaxy: abundances / Galaxy: stellar content / globular clusters: general / globular clusters: individual: NGC 6752
Table 2 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/557/A128
© ESO, 2013
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