High-resolution Hubble Space Telescope imaging observations show that the radial distribution of the field-decontaminated sample of 162 "blue straggler" stars (BSs) in the Gyr old Large Magellanic Cloud cluster Hodge 11 exhibits a clear bimodality. In combination with their distinct loci in color-magnitude space, this offers new evidence in support of theoretical expectations that suggest different BS formation channels as a function of stellar density. In the cluster's color-magnitude diagram, the BSs in the inner 15″ (roughly corresponding to the cluster's core radius) are located more closely to the theoretical sequence resulting from stellar collisions, while those in the periphery (at radii between 85″ and 100″) are preferentially found in the region expected to contain objects formed through binary mass transfer or coalescence. In addition, the objects' distribution in color-magnitude space provides us with the rare opportunity in an extragalactic environment to quantify the evolution of the cluster's collisionally induced BS population and the likely period that has elapsed since their formation epoch, which we estimate to have occurred ∼4-5 Gyr ago.
- blue stragglers
- galaxies: star clusters: individual (Hodge 11)
- M diagrams
- Magellanic Clouds
- Russell and C
- stars: kinematics and dynamics