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The Gaia-ESO Survey: A globular cluster escapee in the Galactic halo


The Gaia-ESO Survey: A globular cluster escapee in the Galactic halo Thumbnail



A small fraction of the halo field is made up of stars that share the light element (Z = 13) anomalies characteristic of second generation globular cluster (GC) stars. The ejected stars shed light on the formation of the Galactic halo by tracing the dynamical history of the clusters, which are believed to have once been more massive. Some of these ejected stars are expected to show strong Al enhancement at the expense of shortage of Mg, but until now no such star has been found. We search for outliers in the Mg and Al abundances of the few hundreds of halo field stars observed in the first eighteen months of the Gaia-ESO public spectroscopic survey. One halo star at the base of the red giant branch, here referred to as 22593757-4648029 is found to have [ Mg/Fe ] = -0.36 ± 0.04 and [ Al/Fe ] = 0.99 ± 0.08, which is compatible with the most extreme ratios detected in GCs so far. We compare the orbit of 22593757-4648029 to GCs of similar metallicity andfind it unlikely that this star has been tidally stripped with low ejection velocity from any of the clusters. However, both chemical and kinematic arguments render it plausible that the star has been ejected at high velocity from the anomalous GC ? Centauri within the last few billion years. We cannot rule out other progenitor GCs, because some may have disrupted fully, and the abundance and orbital data are inadequate for many of those that are still intact.

Acceptance Date Jan 27, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Journal Astronomy & Astrophysics
Print ISSN 0004-6361
Publisher EDP Sciences
Keywords stars, abundances, stars Population II, techniques spectroscopic, globular clusters general, Galaxy stellar content, halo
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