Multiple Stellar Populations in Globular Clusters [SSA]

Globular Clusters (GCs) exhibit star-to-star variations in specific elements (e.g., He, C, N, O, Na, Al) that bare the hallmark of high temperature H burning. These abundance variations can be observed spectroscopically and also photometrically, with the appropriate choice of filters, due to the changing of spectral features within the band pass. This phenomenon is observed in nearly all of the ancient GCs, although, to date, has not been found in any massive cluster younger than 2~Gyr. Many scenarios have been suggested to explain this phenomenon, with most invoking multiple epochs of star-formation within the cluster, however all have failed to reproduce various key observations, in particular when a global view of the GC population is taken. We review the state of current observations, and outline the successes and failures of each of the main proposed models. The traditional idea of using the stellar ejecta from a 1st generation of stars to form a 2nd generation of stars, while conceptually straight forward, has failed to reproduce an increasing number of observational constraints. We conclude that the puzzle of multiple populations remains unsolved, hence alternative theories are needed.

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N. Bastian and C. Lardo
Wed, 6 Dec 17

Comments: To appear in Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics (volume 56). Author’s own version. Please see the journal website for the final published version: this http URL