The impact of stellar rotation on the morphology of star cluster colour–magnitude diagrams is widely acknowledged. However, the physics driving the distribution of the equatorial rotation velocities of main-sequence turn-off stars is as yet poorly understood. Using Gaia Data Release 2 photometry and new Southern African Large Telescope medium-resolution spectroscopy, we analyse the intermediate-age (∼ 1-Gyr-old) Galactic open clusters NGC 3960, NGC 6134, and IC 4756 and develop a novel method to derive their stellar rotation distributions based on SYCLIST stellar rotation models. Combined with literature data for the open clusters NGC 5822 and NGC 2818, we find a tight correlation between the number ratio of slow rotators and the clusters’ binary fractions. The blue-main-sequence stars in at least two of our clusters are more centrally concentrated than their red-main-sequence counterparts. The origin of the equatorial stellar rotation distribution and its evolution remains as yet unidentified. However, the observed correlation in our open cluster sample suggests a binary-driven formation mechanism.
Bibliographical noteThis article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 502, Issue 3, April 2021, Pages 4350–4358, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stab347. Copyright 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
- techniques: spectroscopic
- galaxies: star clusters: general