Globular clusters (GCs), once thought to be well approximated as simple stellar populations (i.e. all stars having the same age and chemical abundance), are now known to host a variety of anomalies, such as multiple discrete (or spreads in) populations in colour-magnitude diagrams and abundance variations in light elements (e.g. Na, O, Al). Multiple models have been put forward to explain the observed anomalies, although all have serious shortcomings (e.g. requiring a non-standard initial mass function of stars and GCs to have been initially 10-100 times more massive than observed today). These models also do not agree with observations of massive stellar clusters forming today, which do not display significant age spreads nor have gas/dust within the cluster. Here we present a model for the formation of GCs, where low-mass pre-main-sequence stars accrete enriched material released from interacting massive binary and rapidly rotating stars on to their circumstellar discs, and ultimately on to the young stars. As was shown in previous studies, the accreted material matches the unusual abundances and patterns observed in GCs. The proposed model does not require multiple generations of star formation, conforms to the known properties of massive clusters forming today and solves the `mass budget problem' without requiring GCs to have been significantly more massive at birth. Potential caveats to the model as well as model predictions are discussed.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- December 2013
- globular clusters: general;
- galaxies: star clusters: general;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 15 pages, 4 figures, MNRAS in press