Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 450, 1693-1704 (2015/June-3)
On the interpretation of sub-giant branch morphologies of intermediate-age star clusters with extended main sequence turnoffs.
GOUDFROOIJ P., GIRARDI L., ROSENFIELD P., BRESSAN A., MARIGO P., CORRENTI M. and PUZIA T.H.
Abstract (from CDS):
High-quality photometry of many star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds with ages of 1-2 Gyr revealed main sequence turnoffs (MSTOs) that are significantly wider than can be accounted for by a simple stellar population (SSP). Such extended MSTOs (eMSTOs) are often interpreted in terms of an age spread of several 108 yr, challenging the traditional view of star clusters as being formed in a single star formation episode. Li et al. and Bastian & Niederhofer recently investigated the sub-giant branches (SGBs) of NGC 1651, NGC 1806, and NGC 1846, three star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) that exhibit an eMSTO. They argued that the SGB of these star clusters can be explained only by an SSP. We study these and two other similar star clusters in the LMC, using extensive simulations of SSPs including unresolved binaries. We find that the shapes of the cross-SGB profiles of all star clusters in our sample are in fact consistent with their cross-MSTO profiles when the latter are interpreted as age distributions. Conversely, SGB morphologies of star clusters with eMSTOs are found to be inconsistent with those of simulated SSPs. Finally, we create parsec isochrones from tracks featuring a grid of convective overshoot levels and a very fine grid of stellar masses. A comparison of the observed photometry with these isochrones shows that the morphology of the red clump (RC) of such star clusters is also consistent with that implied by their MSTO in the age spread scenario. We conclude that the SGB and RC morphologies of star clusters featuring eMSTOs are consistent with the scenario in which the eMSTOs are caused by a distribution of stellar ages.
© 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015)
Hertzsprung-Russell and colour-magnitude diagrams - globular clusters: general - Magellanic Clouds
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