There is increasing evidence for the presence of multiple red giant branches (RGBs) in the color-magnitude diagrams of massive globular clusters (GCs). In order to investigate the origin of this split on the RGB, we have performed new narrow-band Ca photometry and low-resolution spectroscopy for M22, NGC 1851, and NGC 288. We find significant differences (more than 4σ) in calcium abundance from the spectroscopic HK′ index for M22 and NGC 1851. We also find more than 8σ differences in CN-band strength between the Ca-strong and Ca-weak subpopulations for these GCs. For NGC 288, however, a large difference is detected only in the CN strength. The calcium abundances of RGB stars in this GC are identical to within the errors. This is consistent with the conclusion from our new Ca photometry where the RGB splits are confirmed in M22 and NGC 1851, but not in NGC 288. We also find interesting differences in the CN-CH correlations among these GCs. While CN and CH are anti-correlated in NGC 288, they show a positive correlation in M22. NGC 1851, however, shows no difference in CH between the two groups of stars with different CN strengths. We suggest that all of these systematic differences would be best explained by how strongly Type II supernovae enrichment has contributed to the chemical evolution of these GCs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science