AGE of the JEWEL BOX
Some debate continues to exists on the age of NGC 4755. Earlier references once quoted in the order of about one hundred million years, though most of the more recent estimates have significantly reduced on this initial value. The general trends of many quoted distances in the last fifty years or so follow;
NGC 4755 overall is a very young cluster compared with most of the others in the sky. Looking at the NGC 4755 paper of Cannon and Sagar seems the best modern estimate, though Sagar and Cannon suggest that the brighter components may be some 4 million years older. Several of the later investigations also seem to be confirming this; I.e. Koenig, et al. (1998) and using more recent evolution theory suggest 12.6±0.1 Myr. (Calculating as 12589254 years as appearing in this paper’s title!) Oddly, the figures of the last decade or so have tended to a much higher set of values, which can be attributed to probably to better knowledge of the interstellar absorption betwen us and the cluster. Kharchenko et al. (2016) results seems to be far too high.
Another of the investigations was by Sanner, J., et al., “Photometric and kinematic studies of open star clusters II, NGC 4103, NGC 5281 and NGC 4755.” A&A., 369, 511 (2001) concludes that; “…ages at most of 45Myr.”. This sets the maximum age. There is some evidence that open clusters do not produce their individual stars all at once but that the process occurs over several million years. Such ideas explain the evolutionary variations seen in many colour magnitude diagrams. It is even possible that one (or more) bursts of star formation may occur, giving the appearance that they are seemingly two star clusters. There is much to be said on this particular topic about this open cluster — something which will warrant future investigation and continued observations. In some ways, quoted ages of any young cluster maybe less important than the age range of all its individual stars.
Next we shall compare the Jewel Box to some other bright southern clusters.
Last Update : 24th April 2016
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