IC 4499 revised: Spectro-photometric evidence of small light-element variations

It has been suggested that IC 4499 is one of the very few old globulars to not host multiple populations with light-element variations. To follow-up on this very interesting result, here we have made use of accurate HST photometry and FLAMES at VLT high-resolution spectroscopy to investigate in more detail the stellar population properties of this system. We find that the red giant branch of the cluster is clearly bimodal in near-UV-optical colour-magnitude diagrams, thus suggesting that IC 4499 is actually composed by two sub-populations of stars with different nitrogen abundances. This represents the first detection of multiple populations in IC 4499. Consistently, we also find that one star out of six is Na-rich to some extent, while we do not detect any evidence of intrinsic spread in both Mg and O.
The number ratio between stars with normal and enriched nitrogen is in good agreement with the number ratio - mass trend observed in Galactic globular clusters. Also, as typically found in other systems, nitrogen rich stars are more centrally concentrated than normal stars, although this result cannot be considered conclusive because of the limited field of view covered by our observations (similar to 1r(h)).
On the contrary, we observe that both the RGB UV colour spread, which is a proxy of N variations, and Na abundance variations, are significantly smaller than those observed in Milky Way globular clusters with mass and metallicity comparable to IC 4499. The modest N and Na spreads observed in this system can be tentatively connected to the fact that IC 4499 likely formed in a disrupted dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way, as previously proposed based on its orbit.

Publié dans:
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 618, A131
Oct 23 2018
Les Ulis Cedex A, EDP SCIENCES S A

 Notice créée le 2018-12-13, modifiée le 2019-06-19

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