Astron. J., 134, 1729-1739 (2007/November-0)
Evidence for three subpopulations of globular clusters in the early-type poststarburst shell galaxy AM 0139-655.
MAYBHATE A., GOUDFROOIJ P., SCHWEIZER F., PUZIA T. and CARTER D.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present deep Hubble Space Telescope ACS images of the poststarburst shell galaxy AM 0139-655. We find evidence for the presence of three distinct globular cluster (GC) subpopulations associated with this galaxy: a centrally concentrated young population (∼0.4 Gyr), an intermediate-age population (∼1 Gyr), and an old, metal-poor population similar to that seen around normal galaxies. The g-I color distribution of the clusters is bimodal, with peaks at 0.85 and 1.35. The redder peak at g-I=1.35 is consistent with the predicted color for an old, metal-poor population. The clusters associated with the peak at g-I=0.85 are centrally concentrated and interpreted as a younger and more metal-rich population. We suggest that these clusters have an age of ∼0.4 Gyr and solar metallicity based on a comparison with population synthesis models. The luminosity function of these ``blue'' clusters is well represented by a power law, φ(L)dL∝L–1.8dL. Interestingly, the brightest shell associated with the galaxy harbors some of the youngest clusters observed. This seems to indicate that the same merger event was responsible for the formation of both the shells and the young clusters. The red part of the color distribution contains several very bright clusters, which are not expected for an old, metal-poor population. Furthermore, the luminosity function of the ``red'' GCs cannot be fit well by either a single Gaussian or a single power law. A composite (Gaussian + power law) fit to the luminosity function of the red clusters yields both a low rms and very plausible properties for an old population (with a Gaussian distribution), plus an intermediate-age population (with a power-law distribution) of GCs. Hence, we suggest that the red clusters in AM 0139-655 consist of two distinct GC subpopulations, one being an old, metal-poor population as seen in normal galaxies and one having formed during a recent dissipative galaxy merger (likely the same event that formed the ∼0.4 Gyr old clusters).
Galaxies: Clusters: General - Galaxies: Elliptical and Lenticular, cD - galaxies: individual (AM 0139-655) - Galaxies: Interactions - Galaxies: Star Clusters
Table 2: [MGS2007] JHHMMSS.ss+DDMMSS.ss N=50.
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