An unexpected detection of bifurcated blue straggler sequences in the young globular cluster NGC 2173

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Li, Chengyuan ; Deng, Licai ; de Grijs, Richard ; Jiang, Dengkai ; Xin, Yu (2018)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3847/1538-4357/aaad65
  • Subject: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics | Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Bifurcated patterns of blue straggler stars in their color--magnitude diagrams have atracted significant attention. This type of special (but rare) pattern of two distinct blue straggler sequences is commonly interpreted as evidence of cluster core-collapse-driven stellar collisions as an efficient formation mechanism. Here, we report the detection of a bifurcated blue straggler distribution in a young Large MagellanicCloud cluster, NGC 2173. Because of the cluster's low central stellar number density and its young age, dynamical analysis shows that stellar collisions alone cannot explain the observed blue straggler stars. Therefore, binary evolution is instead the most viable explanation of the origin of these blue straggler stars. However, the reason why binary evolution would render the color--magnitude distribution of blue straggler stars bifurcated remains unclear.
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