Volume 464, Number 3, March IV 2007
|Page(s)||939 - 951|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||11 January 2007|
IV. Detection of He-rich and He-poor stellar populations in the globular cluster NGC 6218
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
4 Dipartimento di Fisica ed Astronomia, Università di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
5 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
6 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Collurania, via M. Maggini, 64100 Teramo, Italy
7 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio, Italy
8 Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
9 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
10 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy
Accepted: 22 December 2006
We used the multifiber spectrograph FLAMES on the ESO Very Large Telescope UT2 to derive atmospheric parameters, metallicities and abundances of O and Na for 79 red giant stars in the Galactic globular cluster NGC 6218 (M 12). We analyzed stars in the magnitude range from about 1 mag below the bump to the tip of the Red Giant Branch. The average metallicity we derive is dex (random and systematic errors, respectively), with a very small star-to-star scatter ( dex), from moderately high-resolution Giraffe spectra. This is the first extensive spectroscopic abundance analysis in this cluster. Our results indicate that NGC 6218 is very homogeneous as far as heavy elements are concerned. On the other hand, light elements involved in the well known proton-capture reactions of H-burning at high temperature, such as O and Na, show large variations, anticorrelated with each other, at all luminosities along the red giant branch. The conclusion is that the Na-O anticorrelation must be established in early times at the cluster formation. We interpret the variation of Na found near the RGB-bump as the effect of two distinct populations having different bump luminosities, as predicted for different He content. To our knowledge, NGC 6218 is the first GC where such a signature has been spectroscopically detected, when combined with consistent and homogeneous data obtained for NGC 6752 to gain in statistical significance.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: atmospheres / stars: Population II / Galaxy: globular clusters: general / Galaxy: globular clusters: individual: NGC 6218 (M 12)
© ESO, 2007
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