VVVX-Gaia discovery of a low luminosity globular cluster in the Milky Way disk

E. R. Garro, D. Minniti, M. Gómez, J. Alonso-García, R. H. Barbá, B. Barbuy, J. J. Clariá, A. N. Chené, B. Dias, M. Hempel, V. D. Ivanov, P. W. Lucas, D. Majaess, F. Mauro, C. Moni Bidin, T. Palma, J. B. Pullen, R. K. Saito, L. Smith, F. SurotS. Ramírez Alegría, M. Rejkuba, V. Ripepi, J. Fernández Trincado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Milky Way globular clusters (GCs) are difficult to identify at low Galactic latitudes because of high differential extinction and heavy star crowding. The new deep near-infrared (IR) images and photometry from the VISTA Variables in the Via Láctea Extended Survey (VVVX) allow us to chart previously unexplored regions. Aims. Our long term aim is to complete the census of Milky Way GCs. The immediate goals are to estimate the astrophysical parameters for the newly discovered GC candidates, measuring their reddenings, extinctions, distances, total luminosities, proper motions, sizes, metallicities, and ages. Methods. We used the near-IR VVVX survey database, in combination with the optical photometry and proper motions (PMs) from Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2), and with the Two Micron All Sky Survey photometry to search for and characterise new GCs within the southern Galactic plane (|b| < 5°). Results. We report the detection of a heretofore unknown Galactic GC at RA = 14:09:00.0; Dec =-65:37:12 (J2000) corresponding to l = 310.828 deg; and b =-3.944 deg in galactic coordinates. We calculate a reddening of E(J-Ks) = (0.3 ± 0.03) mag and an extinction of AKs = (0.15 ± 0.01) mag for this new GC. Its distance modulus and corresponding distance were measured as (m-M) = (15.93 ± 0.03) mag and D = (15.5 ± 1.0) kpc, respectively. We also estimate the metallicity and age by comparison with known GCs and by fitting PARSEC and Dartmouth isochrones, finding [Fe/H] = (-0.70 ± 0.2) dex and t = (11.0 ± 1.0) Gyr. The mean GC PMs from Gaia DR2 are μα∗ = (-4.68 ± 0.47) mas yr-1 and μδ = (-1.34 ± 0.45) mas yr-1. The total luminosity of our cluster is estimated to be MKs = (-7.76 ± 0.5) mag. The core and tidal radii from the radial density profile are rc ∼ 2.1′ (4.6 pc) and rt = 6.5′ (14.6 pc) at the cluster distance. Conclusions. We have found a new low luminosity, old and metal-rich GC, situated in the far side of the Galactic disk at RG = 11.2 kpc from the Galactic centre and at z = 1.0 kpc below the plane. Interestingly, the location, metallicity, and age of this GC are coincident with the Monoceros ring structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL19
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Galaxy: disk
  • Galaxy: stellar content
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Infrared: stars
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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