Searching for Multiple Populations in Star Clusters Using the China Space Station Telescope

Chengyuan Li*, Zhenya Zheng, Xiaodong Li, Xiaoying Pang, Baitian Tang, Antonino P. Milone, Yue Wang, Haifeng Wang, Dengkai Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple stellar populations (MPs) in most star clusters older than 2 Gyr, as seen by lots of spectroscopic and photometric studies, have led to a significant challenge to the traditional view of star formation. In this field, space-based instruments, in particular the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), have made a breakthrough as they significantly improved the efficiency of detecting MPs in crowded stellar fields by images. The China Space Station Telescope (CSST) and the HST are sensitive to a similar wavelength interval, but the CSST covers a field of view which is about 5-8 times wider than that of HST. One of its instruments, the Multi-Channel Imager (MCI), will have multiple filters covering a wide wavelength range from NUV to NIR, making the CSST a potentially powerful tool for studying MPs in clusters. In this work, we evaluate the efficiency of the designed filters for the MCI/CSST in revealing MPs in different color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs). We find that CMDs made with MCI/CSST photometry in appropriate UV filters are powerful tools to disentangle stellar populations with different abundances of He, C, N, O and Mg. On the contrary, the traditional CMDs are blind to multiple populations in globular clusters (GCs). We show that CSST has the potential of being the spearhead instrument for investigating MPs in GCs in the next decades.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095004
JournalResearch in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • (Galaxy:) globular clusters: general
  • stars: abundances
  • techniques: photometric


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