THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE UV LEGACY SURVEY of GALACTIC GLOBULAR CLUSTERS. III. A QUINTUPLE STELLAR POPULATION in NGC 2808

A. P. Milone, A. F. Marino, G. Piotto, A. Renzini, L. R. Bedin, J. Anderson, S. Cassisi, F. D'Antona, A. Bellini, H. Jerjen, A. Pietrinferni, P. Ventura

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    Abstract

    In this study we present the first results from multi-wavelength Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of the Galactic globular cluster (GC) NGC 2808 as an extension of the Hubble Space Telescope UV Legacy Survey of Galactic GCs (GO-13297 and previous proprietary and HST archive data). Our analysis allowed us to disclose a multiple-stellar-population phenomenon in NGC 2808 even more complex than previously thought. We have separated at least five different populations along the main sequence and the red giant branch (RGB), which we name A, B, C, D, and E (though an even finer subdivision may be suggested by the data). We identified the RGB bump in four out of the five RGBs. To explore the origin of this complex color-magnitude diagram, we have combined our multi-wavelength HST photometry with synthetic spectra, generated by assuming different chemical compositions. The comparison of observed colors with synthetic spectra suggests that the five stellar populations have different contents of light elements and helium. Specifically, if we assume that NGC 2808 is homogeneous in [Fe/H] (as suggested by spectroscopy for Populations B, C, D, E, but lacking for Population A) and that population A has a primordial helium abundance, we find that populations B, C, D, E are enhanced in helium by ΔY ∼ 0.03, 0.03, 0.08, 0.13, respectively. We obtain similar results by comparing the magnitude of the RGB bumps with models. Planned spectroscopic observations will test whether Population A also has the same metallicity, or whether its photometric differences with Population B can be ascribed to small [Fe/H] and [O/H] differences rather than to helium.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number51
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume808
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2015

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