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Published January 15, 1989 | Published
Journal Article Open

Blue straggler stars in the globular cluster NGC 5053


Twenty-four blue straggler stars have been identified in the low central concentration globular cluster NGC 5053. New deep color-magnitude (C-M) diagrams to 23 mag, constructed from photometry of over 6000 stars on 4-shooter CCD frames, show that they form a well-defined sequence in the C-M diagram, extending up to ~2.2 mag brighter than the main-sequence turnoff point. The 12 most luminous blue stragglers are found to be significantly more centrally concentrated than the cluster subgiants with magnitudes in the same interval (a similar result is known for the blue stragglers in the globular cluster NGC 5466). Furthermore, they are also found to be more centrally concentrated than the 12 lower luminosity blue stragglers. Comparisons of the projected radial distributions of the bright and faint blue stragglers, with the radial distributions that are expected for stars of mass 0.8, 1.6, and 2.4 M_⊙ (calculated using multimass King models) suggests that the brightest blue stragglers have an average mass of〈M〉= 1.3 + 0.3 M_⊙, which is less than or comparable to twice the mean mass of a main-sequence turnoff star, and the lower luminosity blue stragglers have a mean mass similar to that of the main-sequence turnoff stars (i.e., M ~ 0.8 M_⊙)- By fitting theoretical isochrones computed by Bell and VandenBerg to the observed main-sequence turnoff and subgiant branch regions of NGC 5053, a distance modulus of (m — M)_0 = 16.05 ± 0.14 mag, and an age of 18 ± 3 Gyr are derived for NGC 5053. The main-sequence luminosity function shows no sign of " turning over " for stars brighter than M_g ~ 5 mag.

Additional Information

© American Astronomical Society • Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1988 February 3 ; accepted 1988 June 28. We thank Don VandenBerg and Roger Bell for kindly providing the theoretical isochrones in advance of publication, Carlton Pryor for the use of his programs from which the multimass King models were computed, Harvey Richer and Greg Fahlman for useful discussions and for permission to reproduce the deep CFHT CCD frame, and Alain Porter for providing the information on the 4-Shooter readout noise and photons ADU^(-1). We also thank Amanda Nemec for a careful reading of the paper, Peter Stetson for valuable discussions concerning the photometry, and the anonymous referee for some important suggestions. David Duncan assisted in making some of the photographic prints. J. G. C. is grateful to Caltech and to the Caltech Recycling Center for financial support. J. M. N. gratefully acknowledges a Canada Council Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship (1985-1987), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech, and for a University Research Fellowship at the University of British Columbia.

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Published - 1989ApJ___336__780N.pdf


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