Friday, 27 November 2009
Multiple populations in MW globular clusters
In http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/0911.4798, which also came out in Nature this week, Lee et al presents the results of an study of the Calcium abundance in a sample of 8 globular clusters. Why do we care? Well, traditionally globulars are thought to mostly be single stellar populations where all stars formed in a very short time; as Ca is produced by SN II you would expect no variation in Ca abundance in this scenario. But that is not what Lee et al found, indeed they found that in 7 out of their clusters there was clearl evidence for a broadened, or in some cases, double red giant branch. This argues for a more complex formation history for globular clusters and might argue that many of them are the remnant nucleus of accreted dwarf galaxies (this is open to argument though).