SCYON Abstract

Received on April 13 2018

The search for multiple populations in Magellanic Cloud Clusters IV: Coeval multiple stellar populations in the
young star cluster NGC 1978

AuthorsS. Martocchia (1), F. Niederhofer (2), E. Dalessandro (3), and 15 co-authors
Affiliation(1) Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK
(2) Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, Potsdam 14482, Germany
(3) INAF-Osservatorio di Astrofisica E Scienza dello Spazio, via Gobetti 93/3, I-40129, Bologna, Italy
Accepted byMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We have recently shown that the ~2 Gyr old Large Magellanic Cloud star cluster NGC 1978 hosts multiple populations in terms of star-to-star abundance variations in [N/Fe]. These can be seen as a splitting or spread in the sub-giant and red giant branches (SGB and RGB) when certain photometric filter combinations are used. Due to its relative youth, NGC 1978 can be used to place stringent limits on whether multiple bursts of star-formation have taken place within the cluster, as predicted by some models for the origin of multiple populations. We carry out two distinct analyses to test whether multiple star-formation epochs have occurred within NGC 1978. First, we use UV CMDs to select stars from the first and second population along the SGB, and then compare their positions in optical CMDs, where the morphology is dominantly controlled by age as opposed to multiple population effects. We find that the two populations are indistinguishable, with age differences of 1±20 Myr between them. This is in tension with predictions from the AGB scenario for the origin of multiple populations. Second, we estimate the broadness of the main sequence turnoff (MSTO) of NGC 1978 and we report that it is consistent with the observational errors. We find an upper limit of ~65 Myr on the age spread in the MSTO of NGC 1978. This finding is in conflict with the age spread scenario as origin of the extendend MSTO in intermediate age clusters, while it fully supports predictions from the stellar rotation model.