The presence of two distinct red giant branches in the globular cluster NGC1851

Sang Il Han, Young Wook Lee, Seok Joo Joo, Sangmo Tony Sohn, Suk Jin Yoon, Hak Sub Kim, Jae Woo Lee

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91 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing body of evidence for the presence of multiple stellar populations in some globular clusters, including NGC1851. For most of these peculiar globular clusters, however, the evidence for the multiple red giant branches (RGBs) having different heavy elemental abundances as observed in ω Centauri is hitherto lacking, although spreads in some lighter elements are reported. It is therefore not clear whether they also share the suggested dwarf galaxy origin of ω Cen or not. Here we show from the CTIO 4 m UVI photometry of the globular cluster NGC1851 that its RGB is clearly split into two in the U - I color. The two distinct RGB populations are also clearly separated in the abundance of heavy elements as traced by calcium, suggesting that the Type II supernovae enrichment is also responsible, in addition to the pollutions of lighter elements by intermediate-mass asymptotic giant branch stars or fast-rotating massive stars. The RGB split, however, is not shown in the V - I color, as indicated by previous observations. Our stellar population models show that this and the presence of bimodal horizontal-branch distribution in NGC1851 can be naturally reproduced if the metal-rich second generation stars are also enhanced in helium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L190-L194
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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