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Discrepancies in the ages of young star clusters; evidence for mergers?

Beasor, ER, Davies, B, Smith, N and Bastian, N (2019) Discrepancies in the ages of young star clusters; evidence for mergers? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 486 (1). pp. 266-273. ISSN 0035-8711

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Open Access URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz732 (Published version)

Abstract

There is growing evidence that star clusters can no longer be considered simple stellar populations (SSPs). Intermediate and old age clusters are often found to have extended main sequence turn-offs (eMSTOs) which are difficult to explain with single age isochrones, an effect attributed to rotation. In this paper, we provide the first characterisation of this effect in young (<20Myr) clusters. We determine ages for 4 young massive clusters (2 LMC, 2 Galactic) by three different methods: using the brightest single turn-off (TO) star; using the luminosity function (LF) of the TO; and by using the lowest $L_{\rm bol}$ red supergiant (RSG). The age found using the cluster TO is consistently younger than the age found using the lowest RSG $L_{\rm bol}$. Under the assumption that the lowest luminosity RSG age is the `true' age, we argue that the eMSTOs of these clusters cannot be explained solely by rotation or unresolved binaries. We speculate that the most luminous stars above the TO are massive blue straggler stars formed via binary interaction, either as mass gainers or merger products. Therefore, using the cluster TO method to infer ages and initial masses of post-main sequence stars such as Wolf-Rayet stars, luminous blue variables and RSGs, will result in ages inferred being too young and masses too high.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2019 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.SR; astro-ph.SR; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 10:04
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2019 09:48
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stz732
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10361

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