Rotation and Lithium Confirmation of a 500 pc Halo for the Open Cluster NGC 2516

L. G. Bouma, J. L. Curtis, J. D. Hartman, J. N. Winn, G. A. Bakos

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25 Scopus citations


Recent analyses of the Gaia data have identified diffuse stellar populations surrounding nearby open clusters. It is important to verify that these "halos,""tails,"and "strings"are of similar ages and compositions as stars in the denser part of the cluster. We present an analysis of NGC 2516 (≈150 Myr), which has a classical tidal radius of 10 pc and an apparent halo of stars spanning 500 pc (20 on-sky). Combining photometry from Gaia, rotation periods from TESS, and lithium measurements from Gaia-ESO and GALAH, we find that the halo of NGC 2516 is the same age as the cluster's core. Two-thirds of kinematically selected halo members out to 250 pc from the cluster center have rotation periods consistent with a gyrochronological age of 150 Myr. A comparison sample of field stars shows no such trend. The lithium abundances of stars in the halo are higher than in the field and correlated with the stellar rotation rate and binarity fraction, as has been noted in other young open clusters. Broadly speaking, this work supports a new paradigm wherein the halos of open clusters are often more populous than their cores. We highlight implications for spectroscopic survey targeting, open cluster dispersal, and planet searches around young stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number197
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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