I discuss the chemical evolution of star clusters, with emphasis on old globular clusters, in relation to their formation histories. Globular clusters clearly formed in a complex fashion, under markedly different conditions from any younger clusters presently known. Those special conditions must be linked to the early formation epoch of the Galaxy and must not have occurred since. While a link to the formation of globular clusters in dwarf galaxies has been suggested, present-day dwarf galaxies are not representative of the gravitational potential wells within which the globular clusters formed. Instead, a formation deep within the proto-Galaxy or within dark-matter minihaloes might be favoured. Not all globular clusters may have formed and evolved similarly. In particular, we may need to distinguish Galactic halo from Galactic bulge clusters.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A
- Pub Date:
- January 2010
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 27 pages, 2 figures. To appear as invited review article in a special issue of the Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. A: Ch. 6 "Star clusters as tracers of galactic star-formation histories" (ed. R. de Grijs). Fully peer reviewed. LaTeX, requires rspublic.cls style file