Using wide-field J, H, and K s images obtained with the WIRCam near-infrared camera on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, we investigated the spatial density configuration of stars within the tidal radius of metal-poor globular cluster NGC 6626, which is known to be located near the bulge region and have a thick-disk orbit motion. In order to trace the stellar density around a target cluster, we sorted the cluster's member stars using a mask-filtering algorithm and weighted the stars on the color-magnitude diagram. From the weight-summed surface density map, we found that the spatial density distribution of stars within the tidal radius is asymmetric with distorted overdensity features. The extending overdensity features are likely associated with the effects of the dynamic interaction with the Galaxy and the cluster's space motion. An interesting finding is that the prominent overdensity features extend toward the direction of the Galactic plane. This orientation of stellar density distribution can be interpreted with the result of the disk-shock effect of the Galaxy, previously experienced by the cluster. Indeed, the radial surface density profile accurately describes this overdensity feature with a break in the slope inside the tidal radius. Thus, the observed results indicate that NGC 6626 experienced a strong dynamical interaction with the Galaxy. Based on the result of strong tidal interaction with the Galaxy and previously published results, we discussed possible origins and evolutions of the cluster: (1) the cluster might have formed in satellite galaxies that were merged and created the Galactic bulge region in the early universe, after which time its dynamical properties were modified by dynamical friction, or (2) the cluster might have formed in primordial and rotationally supported massive clumps in the thick disk of the Galaxy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science