The correlation between blue straggler and binary fractions in the core of Galactic globular clusters
Context: Blue stragglers stars (BSSs) are thought to form in globular clusters by two main formation channels: i) mergers induced by stellar collisions; and ii) coalescence or mass transfer between companions in binary systems. The detailed study of the BSS properties is therefore crucial for understanding the binary evolution mechanisms and the complex interplay between dynamics and stellar evolution in dense stellar systems.
Aims: We present the first comparison between the BSS specific frequency and the binary fraction in the core of a sample of Galactic globular clusters, with the aim of investigating the relative efficiency of the two proposed formation mechanisms.
Methods: We derived the frequency of BSSs in the core of thirteen low-density Galactic globular clusters by using deep ACS@HST observations and investigated its correlation with the binary fraction and various other cluster parameters.
Results: We observed a correlation between the BSS specific frequency and the binary fraction. The significance of the correlation increases by including a further dependence on the cluster's central velocity dispersion.
Conclusions: We conclude that the unperturbed evolution of primordial binaries could be the dominant BSS formation process, at least in low-density environments.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2008
- techniques: photometric;
- binaries: general;
- blue stragglers;
- stars: population II;
- globular clusters: general;
- 5 pages, 2 figures, accepted for publication by A&