Search for extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars in Milky Way globular clusters from Gaia DR2

Richa Kundu, Dante Minniti, Harinder P. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We used extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars to study the dynamics of Galactic globular clusters and know how effects like dynamical friction and tidal disruption affect these clusters. The Gaia DR2 catalogue for RR Lyrae stars (Clementini et al. 2018) is used along with the proper motions and tidal radii data for the globular clusters compiled from literature. A sample of 56 Galactic globular clusters is analysed. Out of these 56 Galactic globular clusters, only 11 have extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars. However, only two clusters, namely, NGC 3201 and NGC 5024, have enough extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars to draw interesting conclusions. NGC 3201 has 13 extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars which are asymmetrically distributed around its centre with more number of stars in its trailing zone than its leading part. We conclude that these asymmetrical tidal tails are due to the combined effect of tidal disruption and the stripped debris from the cluster. On the other hand, NGC 5024 has five extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars, four of them are concentrated in a region which is at a distance of about three times the tidal radius from its centre. These may be the stars that are being ripped apart from the cluster due to tidal disruption. The presence of these extra-tidal RR Lyrae stars in the clusters can be an indication that more cluster stars are present outside their tidal radii which may be revealed by deep wide field colour-magnitude diagrams of the clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1743
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Globular clusters: individual: NGC 3201, NGC 5024
  • Proper motion
  • Stars: variables: RR Lyrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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