Unveiling the nature of 12 new low-luminosity Galactic globular cluster candidates

E. R. Garro, D. Minniti, B. Alessi, D. Patchick, M. Kronberger, J. Alonso-García, J. G. Fernández-Trincado, M. Gómez, M. Hempel, J. B. Pullen, R. K. Saito, V. Ripepi, R. Zelada Bacigalupo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Context. The Galactic globular cluster system is incompletely known, especially in the low-latitude regions of the Galactic bulge and disk. We report the physical characterisation of 12 star clusters in the Milky Way, most of which are explored here for the first time. Aims. Our primary aim is determining their main physical parameters, such as reddening, extinction, metallicity, age, total luminosity, mean cluster proper motions (PMs), and distances, in order to reveal the physical nature of these clusters. Methods. We study the clusters using optical and near-infrared (NIR) datasets. In particular, we use the Gaia Early Data Release 3 (EDR3) PMs in order to perform a PM decontamination procedure and build final catalogues with probable members. We match the Gaia EDR3 with the VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea extended (VVVX) survey and the Two Micron All-Sky survey (2MASS) in the NIR, in order to construct complete NIR and optical colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) and investigate the clusters properties. Results. The extinctions are evaluated using existing reddening maps. We find ranges spanning 0:09. AKs. 0:86 mag and 0:89. AG. 4:72 mag in the NIR and optical, respectively. Adopting standard intrinsic red clump (RC) magnitudes and extinction values, we first obtain the distance modulus for each cluster and thereafter their heliocentric distances, which range from about 4 to 20 kpc. Therefore, we are able to place these clusters at 3. RG. 14 kpc from the Galactic centre. The best PARSEC isochrone fit yields a metallicity range of-1:8 < [Fe/H] < +0:3 and an approximate age range of 2 < age < 14 Gyr. Finally, we find that all clusters have low luminosities, with-6:9 < MV <-3:5 mag. Conclusions. Based on our photometric analysis, we find both open clusters (OCs) and globular clusters (GCs) in our sample. In particular, we confirm the OC nature for Kronberger 100, while we classify Patchick 125 as a metal-poor GC, Ferrero 54 as a metalrich GC, and ESO 92-18 as a possible old OC or young GC. The classification as GC candidates is also suggested for Kronberger 99, Patchick 122, Patchick 126, Riddle 15, FSR 190, and Gaia 2. We also conclude that Kronberger 119 and Kronberger 143 might be either old OCs or young GCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA155
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Galaxy: bulge
  • Galaxy: center
  • Galaxy: stellar content
  • Gamma rays: stars
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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