We investigate the spatial density configuration of stars around four metal-poor globular clusters (NGC 6266, NGC 6626, NGC 6642, and NGC 6723) in the Galactic bulge region using wide-field deep J, H, and K imaging data obtained with the Wide Field Camera near-infrared array on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. A statistical weighted filtering algorithm for the stars on the color-magnitude diagram is applied in order to sort cluster member candidates from the field star contamination. In two-dimensional isodensity contour maps of the clusters, we find that all four of the globular clusters exhibit strong evidence of tidally stripped stellar features beyond the tidal radius in the form of tidal tails or small density lobes/chunks. The orientations of the extended stellar substructures are likely to be associated with the effect of dynamic interaction with the Galaxy and the clusters space motion. The observed radial density profiles of the four globular clusters also describe the extended substructures; they depart from theoretical King and Wilson models and have an overdensity feature with a break in the slope of the profile at the outer region of clusters. The observed results could imply that four globular clusters in the Galactic bulge region have experienced strong environmental effects such as tidal forces or bulge/disk shocks of the Galaxy during the dynamical evolution of globular clusters. These observational results provide further details which add to our understanding of the evolution of clusters in the Galactic bulge region as well as the formation of the Galaxy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science