The origin of discrete multiple stellar populations in globular clusters

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Recent observations have revealed that at least several old globular clusters (GCs) in the Galaxy have discrete distributions of stars along the Mg-Al anticorrelation. In order to discuss this recent observation, we construct a new one-zone GC formation model in which the maximum stellar mass (m(max)) in the initial mass function of stars in a forming GC depends on the star formation rate, as deduced from independent observations. We investigate the star formation histories of formingGCs. The principal results are as follows. About 30 Myr after the formation of the first generation (1G) of stars within a particular GC, new stars can be formed from ejecta from asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars of 1G. However, the formation of this second generation (2G) of stars can last only for [10-20] Myr because the most massive SNe of 2G expel all of the remaining gas. The third generation (3G) of stars are then formed from AGB ejecta approximate to 30 Myr after the truncation of 2G star formation. This cycle of star formation followed by its truncation by SNe can continue until all AGB ejecta is removed from the GC by some physical process. Thus, it is inevitable that GCs have discretemultiple stellar populations in the [Mg/Fe]-[Al/Fe] diagram. Our model predicts that low-mass GCs are unlikely to have discrete multiple stellar populations, and young massive clusters may not have massive OB stars owing to low m(max) (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2242-2253
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2017

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