Confirmation of a New Metal-poor Globular Cluster in the Galactic Bulge

Dante Minniti, Philip Lucas

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We use deep near-IR photometry of the VISTA Variables in the V'a L'ctea (VVV) Survey and deep DECam Plane Survey (DECaPS) optical photometry to confirm the physical reality of the candidate globular cluster (GC) Minni 22, which is located in the Galactic bulge. This object, which was detected as a high density region in our maps of bulge red giants, is now confirmed as a real GC based on the optical and near-IR color'magnitude diagrams. We also recover three known fundamental mode (ab type) RR Lyrae stars within 2 arcmin of the cluster center. The presence of RR Lyrae stars also seems to confirm Minni 22 as a bonafide old and metal-poor GC. We estimate a cluster reddening E(J - Ks) = 0.6 mag and determine its heliocentric distance D = 7.4 ± 0.3 kpc. The optical and near-IR color'magnitude diagrams reveal well-defined red giant branches in all cases, including a red giant branch bump at Ks = 13.30 ± 0.05 mag. The comparison with theoretical isochrones yields a mean metallicity of [Fe/H] = -1.3 ± 0.3 dex, and age of t ∼ 11.2 Gyr. This is a good example of a new low-luminosity (MV = -6.2 mag) GC found in the central bulge of the Milky Way. After discussing the different ways to confirm the existence of bulge GC candidates, we find that one of the best methods is to use the CMDs from the combination of the DECaPS + VVV photometries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018


  • Galaxy: bulge
  • Galaxy: evolution
  • globular clusters: general
  • globular clusters: individual (Minni 22)


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