The recent discovery of double main sequences in the young, massive star cluster NGC 1856 has caught significant attention. The observations can be explained by invoking two stellar generations with different ages and metallicities or by a single generation of stars composed of two populations characterized by different rotation rates. We analyzed the number ratios of stars belonging to both main-sequence components in NGC 1856 as a function of radius. We found that their number ratios remain approximately unchanged from the cluster's central region to its periphery, indicating that both components are homogeneously distributed in space. Through a comparison of the loci of the best-fitting isochrones with the ridge lines of both stellar components, we found that both multiple stellar populations and rapid stellar rotation can potentially explain the observed main-sequence bifurcation in NGC 1856. However, if NGC 1856 were a young representative of the old globular clusters, then the multiple stellar populations model would not be able to explain the observed homogeneity in the spatial distributions of these two components, since all relevant scenarios would predict that the second stellar generation should be formed in a more compact configuration than that of the first stellar generation, while NGC 1856 is too young for both stellar generations to have been fully mixed dynamically. We speculate that the rapid stellar rotation scenario would be the favored explanation of the observed multiple stellar sequences in NGC 1856.
- globular clusters: individual (NGC 1856)
- Russell and C–M diagrams
- Magellanic Clouds