Star cluster ecology: Revisiting the origin of iron and age complex clusters

Nate Bastian, Joel Pfeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Typical globular clusters (GCs - young and old) host stellar populations with little or no star-to-star variations in heavy elements (e.g. Ca, Fe) nor in age. Nuclear star clusters (NSCs), on the other hand, host complex stellar populations that show ltimodal distributions in Fe and often in age, presumably due to their unique location at the centre of a large galactic potential well. However, recently a new class of clusters have been discovered, exemplified by the clusters Terzan 5 and Liller 1, two high mass, high metallicity clusters in the inner Galactic regions. It has been suggested that these are not true GCs, but rather represent left over fragments of the foation of the Galactic Bulge. Here, we critically assess this scenario and find that the role of dynamical friction likely makes it untenable and that the method used to estimate the initial masses of the clumps was invalid. Instead, it appears more likely that these clusters represent a relatively rare phenomenon of existing GCs accreting gas and foing a second generation, as has been previously suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-618
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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