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Discovery of a Double Sequence of Blue Straggler Stars in the Core-collapsed Globular Cluster NGC 6256

Cadelano, M, Ferraro, FR, Dalessandro, E, Lanzoni, B, Pallanca, C and Saracino, S (2022) Discovery of a Double Sequence of Blue Straggler Stars in the Core-collapsed Globular Cluster NGC 6256. Astrophysical Journal, 941 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aca016 (Published version)


We used a combination of high-resolution optical images acquired with the Hubble Space Telescope and near-IR wide-field data to investigate the stellar density profile and the population of blue straggler stars (BSSs) in the Galactic globular cluster NGC 6256, with the aim of probing its current stage of internal dynamical evolution. We found that the inner stellar density profile significantly deviates from a King model, while it is well reproduced by a steep cusp with a power-law slope α cusp = −0.89, thus implying that the cluster is currently in the post-core-collapse (PCC) phase. This is also confirmed by the very high segregation level of the BSS population measured through the A rh + parameter. We also found that the distribution of BSSs in the color-magnitude diagram is characterized by a collimated blue sequence and a red more sparse component, as already observed in three other PCC clusters. A comparison with appropriate collisional models demonstrates that the vast majority of the BSSs lying along the collimated blue sequence is consistent with a generation of coeval (1 Gyr old) stars with different masses originated by an event that highly enhanced the collisional rate of the system (i.e., the core collapse). This study confirms that the segregation level of BSSs is a powerful dynamical diagnostic also of star cluster in a very advanced stage of dynamical evolution. Moreover, it pushes forward the possibility of using the morphology of BSSs in a color-magnitude diagram as a tracer of the core-collapse and subsequent dynamical evolutionary phases.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences; 0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics; 0306 Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural); Astronomy & Astrophysics
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society; IOP Publishing
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2023 15:46
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 15:46
DOI or ID number: 10.3847/1538-4357/aca016
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19792
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