Blue Straggler Stars: A Direct Comparison of Star Counts and Population Ratios in Six Galactic Globular Clusters Academic Article uri icon

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  • The central regions of six Galactic Globular Clusters (GGCs) (M3, M80, M10, M13, M92 and NGC 288) have been imaged using HST-WFPC2 and the ultraviolet (UV) filters (F255W, F336W). The selected sample covers a large range in both central density and metallicity ([Fe/H]). In this paper, we present a direct cluster-to-cluster comparison of the Blue Stragglers Stars (BSS) population as selected from (m_{255},m_{255}-m_{336}) Color Magnitude Diagrams (CMDs). We have found:(a) BSS in three of the clusters (M3, M80, M92) are much more concentrated toward the center of the cluster than the red giants; because of the smaller BSS samples for the other clusters we can only note that the BSS radial distributions are consistent with central concentration; (b) the specific frequency of BSS varies greatly from cluster to cluster. The most interesting result is that the two clusters with largest BSS specific frequency are at the central density extremes of our sample: NGC 288 (lowest central density) and M80 (highest). This evidence together with the comparison with theoretical collisional models suggests that both stellar interactions in high density cluster cores and at least one other alternate channel operating low density GGCs play an important role in the production of BSS. We also note a possible connection between HB morphology and blue straggler luminosity functions in these six clusters.


  • Ferraro, Francesco R
  • Sills, Alison
  • Rood, Robert T
  • Paltrinieri, Barbara
  • Buonanno, Roberto

publication date

  • May 2003