Age and metallicity of compact stellar systems in Virgo and Fornax

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.52). 04/2009; 394(4). DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14479.x
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT For high signal-to-noise ratio GMOS-N and AAOmega spectra, we have measured line-strength indices in the Lick/IDS system for several luminous and spatially dispersed compact stellar systems (CSSs) located in the Virgo and Fornax galaxy clusters. We estimate their [alpha/Fe] ratios, ages and metallicities using a simple (single-burst) stellar population model We confirm that the Virgo core region luminous CSSs (M(bj) <= -10.5) contain ancient stellar populations with subsolar total metallicities, suggesting that they comprise the bright tail of M87's GC distribution. The two Virgo intracluster globular clusters have ages and metallicities consistent with the cluster core CSSs. Two Fornax luminous CSSs also have ancient stellar populations but are at the upper end of the Virgo CSS metallicity range, while the third (UCD3) appears to be relatively young, metal-rich and with a core + halo radial profile. Our results suggest that Fornax may contain an extra population of luminous CSSs formed more recently than the ancient GC-like systems found in both clusters.

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