Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||27 June 2019|
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Adnet Systems, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, 06304 Nice, France
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, UNLP-CONICET, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
5 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
Accepted: 6 May 2019
Context. We have performed a census of the UV-bright population in 78 globular clusters using wide-field UV telescopes. This population includes a variety of phases of post-horizontal branch (HB) evolution, including hot post-asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, and post-early AGB stars. There are indications that old stellar systems like globular clusters produce fewer post-(early) AGB stars than currently predicted by evolutionary models, but observations are still scarce.
Aims. We wish to derive effective temperatures, surface gravities, and helium abundances of the luminous hot UV-bright stars in these clusters to determine their evolutionary status and compare the observed numbers to predictions from evolutionary theory.
Methods. We obtained FORS2 spectroscopy of eleven of these UV-selected objects (covering a range of −2.3 < [Fe/H] < −1.0), which we (re-)analysed together with previously observed data. We used model atmospheres of different metallicities, including super-solar ones. Where possible, we verified our atmospheric parameters using UV spectrophotometry and searched for metal lines in the optical spectra. We calculated evolutionary sequences for four metallicity regimes and used them together with information about the HB morphology of the globular clusters to estimate the expected numbers of post-AGB stars.
Results. We find that metal-rich model spectra are required to analyse stars hotter than 40 000 K. Seven of the eleven new luminous UV-bright stars are post-AGB or post-early AGB stars, while two are evolving away from the HB, one is a foreground white dwarf, and another is a white dwarf merger. Taking into account published information on other hot UV-bright stars in globular clusters, we find that the number of observed hot post-AGB stars generally agrees with the predicted values, although the numbers are still low.
Conclusions. Spectroscopy is clearly required to identify the evolutionary status of hot UV-bright stars. For hotter stars, metal-rich model spectra are required to reproduce their optical and UV spectra, which may affect the flux contribution of hot post-AGB stars to the UV spectra of evolved populations. While the observed numbers of post-AGB and post-early AGB stars roughly agree with the predictions, our current comparison is affected by low number statistics.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / globular clusters: general
The extracted spectra, their best-fitting model spectra, and the evolutionary tracks used in this paper are available at CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/627/A34
© ESO 2019
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