Letter to the Editor
Gaia DR2 orbital properties for field stars with globular cluster-like CN band strengths
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
2 Observatoire Astronomique, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, 11 rue de l’Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Accepted: 29 March 2019
Context. Large spectroscopic surveys of the Milky Way have revealed that a small population of stars in the halo have light element abundances comparable to those found in globular clusters. The favoured explanation for the peculiar abundances of these stars is that they originated inside a globular cluster and were subsequently lost.
Aims. Using orbit calculations we assess the likelihood that an existing sample of 57 field stars with globular cluster-like CN band strength originated in any of the currently known Milky Way globular clusters.
Methods. Using Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Gaia data, we determine orbits and integrals of motion of our sample of field stars, and use these values and metallicity to identify likely matches to globular clusters. The pivot hypothesis is that had these stars been stripped from such objects, they would have remained on very similar orbits.
Results. We find that ∼70% of the sample of field stars have orbital properties consistent with the halo of the Milky Way; however, only 20 stars have likely orbital associations with an existing globular cluster. The remaining ∼30% of the sample have orbits that place them in the outer Galactic disc. No cluster of similar metallicity is known on analogous disc orbits.
Conclusions. The orbital properties of the halo stars seem to be compatible with the globular cluster escapee scenario. The stars in the outer disc are particularly surprising and deserve further investigation to establish their nature.
Key words: stars: chemically peculiar / stars: kinematics and dynamics / globular clusters: general / Galaxy: stellar content
© ESO 2019