skip to main content

Title: Spectroscopic Confirmation of the Sixth Globular Cluster in the Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy*
Abstract The Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy has an anomalous number of globular clusters, five, for its stellar mass. There is a longstanding debate about a potential sixth globular cluster (Fornax 6) that has recently been “rediscovered” in DECam imaging. We present new Magellan/M2FS spectroscopy of the Fornax 6 cluster and Fornax dSph. Combined with literature data we identify ∼15–17 members of the Fornax 6 cluster, showing that this overdensity is indeed a star cluster and associated with the Fornax dSph. The cluster is significantly more metal-rich (mean metallicity of [ Fe / H ] ¯ = −0.71 ± 0.05) than the other five Fornax globular clusters (−2.5 < [Fe/H] < −1.4) and more metal-rich than the bulk of Fornax. We measure a velocity dispersion of 5.6 − 1.6 + 2.0 km s − 1 corresponding to an anomalously high mass-to-light of 15 < M / L < 258 at 90% confidence when calculated assuming equilibrium. Two stars inflate this dispersion and may be either Fornax field stars or as yet unresolved binary stars. Alternatively, the Fornax 6 cluster may be undergoing tidal disruption. Based on its metal-rich nature, the Fornax 6 cluster is likely younger than the other Fornax clusters, more » with an estimated age of ∼2 Gyr when compared to stellar isochrones. The chemodynamics and star formation history of Fornax shows imprints of major events such as infall into the Milky Way, multiple pericenter passages, star formation bursts, and/or potential mergers or interactions. Any of these events may have triggered the formation of the Fornax 6 cluster. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1813881 1815767 1815403 1909584
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We present measurements of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] for 128 individual red giant branch stars (RGB) in the stellar halo of M31, including its Giant Stellar Stream (GSS), obtained using spectral synthesis of low- and medium-resolution Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy (and 6000, respectively). We observed four fields in M31's stellar halo (at projected radii of 9, 18, 23, and 31 kpc), as well as two fields in the GSS (at 33 kpc). In combination with existing literature measurements, we have increased the sample size of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] measurements from 101 to a total of 229 individual M31 RGB stars. From this sample, we investigate the chemical abundance properties of M31's inner halo, findingand. Between 8 and 34 kpc, the inner halo has a steep [Fe/H] gradient (−0.025 ± 0.002 dex kpc−1) and negligible [α/Fe] gradient, where substructure in the inner halo is systematically more metal-rich than the smooth component of the halo at a given projected distance. Although the chemical abundances of the inner stellar halo are largely inconsistent with that of present-day dwarf spheroidal (dSph) satellite galaxies of M31, we identified 22 RGB stars kinematically associated with the smooth component of the stellar halomore »that have chemical abundance patterns similar to M31 dSphs. We discuss formation scenarios for M31's halo, concluding that these dSph-like stars may have been accreted from galaxies of similar stellar mass and star formation history, or of higher stellar mass and similar star formation efficiency.

    « less
  2. Abstract The globular cluster 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc) is one of the most massive star clusters in the Milky Way and is exceptionally rich in exotic stellar populations. For several decades it has been a favorite target of observers, and yet it is computationally very challenging to model because of its large number of stars ( N ≳ 10 6 ) and high density. Here we present detailed and self-consistent 47 Tuc models computed with the Cluster Monte Carlo code ( CMC ). The models include all relevant dynamical interactions coupled to stellar and binary evolution, and reproduce various observations, including the surface brightness and velocity dispersion profiles, pulsar accelerations, and numbers of compact objects. We show that the present properties of 47 Tuc are best reproduced by adopting an initial stellar mass function that is both bottom-heavy and top-light relative to standard assumptions (as in, e.g., Kroupa 2001), and an initial Elson profile (Elson et al. 1987) that is overfilling the cluster’s tidal radius. We include new prescriptions in CMC for the formation of binaries through giant star collisions and tidal captures, and we show that these mechanisms play a crucial role in the formation of neutron star binariesmore »and millisecond pulsars in 47 Tuc; our best-fit model contains ∼50 millisecond pulsars, 70% of which are formed through giant collisions and tidal captures. Our models also suggest that 47 Tuc presently contains up to ∼200 stellar-mass black holes, ∼5 binary black holes, ∼15 low-mass X-ray binaries, and ∼300 cataclysmic variables.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We report the formation of bound star clusters in a sample of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of z ≥ 5 galaxies from the Feedback In Realistic Environments project. We find that bound clusters preferentially form in high-pressure clouds with gas surface densities over $10^4\, \mathrm{ M}_{\odot }\, {\rm pc}^{-2}$, where the cloud-scale star formation efficiency is near unity and young stars born in these regions are gravitationally bound at birth. These high-pressure clouds are compressed by feedback-driven winds and/or collisions of smaller clouds/gas streams in highly gas-rich, turbulent environments. The newly formed clusters follow a power-law mass function of dN/dM ∼ M−2. The cluster formation efficiency is similar across galaxies with stellar masses of ∼107–$10^{10}\, \mathrm{ M}_{\odot }$ at z ≥ 5. The age spread of cluster stars is typically a few Myr and increases with cluster mass. The metallicity dispersion of cluster members is ∼0.08 dex in $\rm [Z/H]$ and does not depend on cluster mass significantly. Our findings support the scenario that present-day old globular clusters (GCs) were formed during relatively normal star formation in high-redshift galaxies. Simulations with a stricter/looser star formation model form a factor of a few more/fewer bound clusters per stellar mass formed, whilemore »the shape of the mass function is unchanged. Simulations with a lower local star formation efficiency form more stars in bound clusters. The simulated clusters are larger than observed GCs due to finite resolution. Our simulations are among the first cosmological simulations that form bound clusters self-consistently in a wide range of high-redshift galaxies.« less
  4. Abstract We present new period- ϕ 31 -[Fe/H] relations for first-overtone RRL stars (RRc), calibrated over a broad range of metallicities (−2.5 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ 0.0) using the largest currently available set of Galactic halo field RRL with homogeneous spectroscopic metallicities. Our relations are defined in the optical (ASAS-SN V band) and, inaugurally, in the infrared (WISE W1 and W2 bands). Our V -band relation can reproduce individual RRc spectroscopic metallicities with a dispersion of 0.30 dex over the entire metallicity range of our calibrator sample (an rms smaller than what we found for other relations in literature including nonlinear terms). Our infrared relation has a similar dispersion in the low- and intermediate-metallicity range ([Fe/H] ≲ −0.5), but tends to underestimate the [Fe/H] abundance around solar metallicity. We tested our relations by measuring both the metallicity of the Sculptor dSph and a sample of Galactic globular clusters, rich in both RRc and RRab stars. The average metallicity we obtain for the combined RRL sample in each cluster is within ±0.08 dex of their spectroscopic metallicities. The infrared and optical relations presented in this work will enable deriving reliable photometric RRL metallicities in conditions where spectroscopic measurements are not feasible; e.g.,more »in distant galaxies or reddened regions (observed with upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes and the James Webb Space Telescope), or in the large sample of new RRL that will be discovered in large-area time-domain photometric surveys (such as the LSST and the Roman space telescope).« less
  5. Abstract In a series of three papers, we introduced a novel cluster formation model that describes the formation, growth, and disruption of star clusters in high-resolution cosmological simulations. We tested this model on a Milky Way-sized galaxy and found that various properties of young massive clusters, such as the mass function and formation efficiency, are consistent with observations in the local universe. Interestingly, most massive clusters – globular cluster candidates – are preferentially formed during major merger events. We follow the dynamical evolution of clusters in the galactic tidal field. Due to tidal disruption, the cluster mass function evolves from initial power law to a peaked shape. The surviving clusters at z = 0 show a broad range of metallicity [Fe/H] from -3 to -0.5. A robust prediction of the model is the age–metallicity relation, in which metal-rich clusters are systematically younger than metal-poor clusters by up to 3 Gyr.