Context. Recent studies show that the inner Galactic regions host genuine bulge globular clusters, but also halo intruders, complex remnants of primordial building blocks, and objects likely accreted during major merging events. Aims. In this study we focus on the properties of M 28, a very old and massive cluster currently located in the Galactic bulge. Methods. We analysed wide-field infrared photometry collected by the VVV survey, VVV proper motions, and intermediate-resolution spectra in the calcium triplet range for 113 targets in the cluster area. Results. Our results in general confirm previous estimates of the cluster properties available in the literature. We find no evidence of differences in metallicity between cluster stars, setting an upper limit of Δ[Fe/H] < 0.08 dex to any internal inhomogeneity. We confirm that M 28 is one of the oldest objects in the Galactic bulge (13-14 Gyr). From this result and the literature data, we find evidence of a weak age-metallicity relation among bulge globular clusters that suggests formation and chemical enrichment. In addition, wide-field density maps show that M 28 is tidally stressed and that it is losing mass into the general bulge field. Conclusions. Our study indicates that M 28 is a genuine bulge globular cluster, but its very old age and its mass loss suggest that this cluster could be the remnant of a larger structure, possibly a primeval bulge building block.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Astronomía y astrofísica
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial