SCYON Abstract

Received on December 11 2012

Extended Star Formation in the Intermediate-age Large Magellanic Cloud Star Cluster NGC 2209

AuthorsS.C. Keller, A.D. Mackey, and G.S. Da Costa
AffiliationAustralian National University
To appear inLetters


We present observations of the 1 Gyr old star cluster NGC 2209 in the Large Magellanic Cloud made with the GMOS imager on the Gemini South Telescope. These observations show that the cluster exhibits a main-sequence turnoff that spans a broader range in luminosity than can be explained by a single-aged stellar population. This places NGC 2209 amongst a growing list of intermediate-age (1-3 Gyr) clusters that show evidence for extended or multiple epochs of star formation of between 50 and 460 Myr in extent. The extended main-sequence turnoff observed in NGC 2209 is a confirmation of the prediction in Keller et al. made on the basis of the cluster's large core radius. We propose that secondary star formation is a defining feature of the evolution of massive star clusters. Dissolution of lower mass clusters through evaporation results in only clusters that have experienced secondary star formation surviving for a Hubble time, thus providing a natural connection between the extended main-sequence turnoff phenomenon and the ubiquitous light-element abundance ranges seen in the ancient Galactic globular clusters.