The Bizarre Chemical Inventory of NGC 2419, An Extreme Outer Halo Globular Cluster
We present new Keck/HIRES observations of six red giants in the globular cluster NGC 2419. Although the cluster is among the most distant and most luminous in the Milky Way, it was considered chemically ordinary until very recently. Our previous work showed that the near-infrared Ca II triplet line strength varied more than expected for a chemically homogeneous cluster, and that at least one star had unusual abundances of Mg and K. Here, we confirm that NGC 2419 harbors a population of stars, comprising about one third of its mass, that is depleted in Mg by a factor of 8 and enhanced in K by a factor of 6 with respect to the Mg-normal population. Although the majority, Mg-normal population appears to have a chemical abundance pattern indistinguishable from ordinary, inner halo globular clusters, the Mg-poor population exhibits dispersions of several elements. The abundances of K and Sc are strongly anti-correlated with Mg, and some other elements (Si and Ca among others) are weakly anti-correlated with Mg. These abundance patterns suggest that the different populations of NGC 2419 sample the ejecta of diverse supernovae in addition to AGB ejecta. However, the abundances of Fe-peak elements except Sc show no star-to-star variation. We find no nucleosynthetic source that satisfactorily explains all of the abundance variations in this cluster. Because NGC 2419 appears like no other globular cluster, we reiterate our previous suggestion that it is not a globular cluster at all, but rather the core of an accreted dwarf galaxy.