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Title: Evidence of globular cluster abundance anomalies in the SMC intermediate-age cluster Kron 3

Using spectra obtained with the VLT/FORS2 and Gemini-S/GMOS-S instruments, we have investigated carbon, nitrogen, and sodium abundances in a sample of red giant members of the Small Magellanic Cloud star cluster Kron 3. The metallicity and luminosity of the cluster are comparable to those of Galactic globular clusters but it is notably younger (age ≈ 6.5 Gyr). We have measured the strengths of the CN and CH molecular bands, finding a bimodal CN band-strength distribution and a CH/CN anticorrelation. Application of spectrum synthesis techniques reveals that the difference in the mean [N/Fe] and [C/Fe] values for the CN-strong and CN-weak stars are Δ <[N/Fe]> = 0.63 ± 0.16 dex and Δ <[C/Fe]> = −0.01 ± 0.07 dex after applying corrections for evolutionary mixing. We have also measured sodium abundances from the Na D lines finding an observed range in [Na/Fe] of ∼0.6 dex that correlates positively with the [N/Fe] values and a Δ <[Na/Fe]> = 0.12 ± 0.12 dex. While the statistical significance of the sodium abundance difference is not high, the observed correlation between the Na and N abundances supports its existence. The outcome represents the first star-by-star demonstration of correlated abundance variations involving sodium in an intermediate-age star cluster. The results add to existing photometric and spectroscopic indications of the presence of multiple populations in intermediate-age clusters with masses in excess of ∼105 M⊙. It confirms that the mechanism(s) responsible for the multiple populations in ancient globular clusters cannot solely be an early cosmological effect applying only in old clusters.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2511-2528
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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