skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Wide-field Hubble space telescope observations of the globular cluster system in NGC 1399

We present a comprehensive high spatial resolution imaging study of globular clusters (GCs) in NGC 1399, the central giant elliptical cD galaxy in the Fornax galaxy cluster, conducted with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Using a novel technique to construct drizzled point-spread function libraries for HST/ACS data, we accurately determine the fidelity of GC structural parameter measurements from detailed artificial star cluster experiments and show the superior robustness of the GC half-light radius, r{sub h} , compared with other GC structural parameters, such as King core and tidal radius. The measurement of r{sub h} for the major fraction of the NGC 1399 GC system reveals a trend of increasing r{sub h} versus galactocentric distance, R {sub gal}, out to about 10 kpc and a flat relation beyond. This trend is very similar for blue and red GCs, which are found to have a mean size ratio of r {sub h,} {sub red}/r {sub h,} {sub blue} = 0.82 ± 0.11 at all galactocentric radii from the core regions of the galaxy out to ∼40 kpc. This suggests that the size difference between blue and red GCs is due to internal mechanisms related tomore » the evolution of their constituent stellar populations. Modeling the mass density profile of NGC 1399 shows that additional external dynamical mechanisms are required to limit the GC size in the galaxy halo regions to r{sub h} ≈ 2 pc. We suggest that this may be realized by an exotic GC orbit distribution function, an extended dark matter halo, and/or tidal stress induced by the increased stochasticity in the dwarf halo substructure at larger galactocentric distances. We compare our results with the GC r{sub h} distribution functions in various galaxies and find that the fraction of extended GCs with r{sub h} ≥ 5 pc is systematically larger in late-type galaxies compared with GC systems in early-type galaxies. This is likely due to the dynamically more violent evolution of early-type galaxies. We match our GC r{sub h} measurements with radial velocity data from the literature and split the resulting sample at the median r{sub h} value into compact and extended GCs. We find that compact GCs show a significantly smaller line-of-sight velocity dispersion, (σ{sub cmp}) = 225 ± 25 km s{sup –1}, than their extended counterparts, (σ{sub ext}) = 317 ± 21 km s{sup –1}. Considering the weaker statistical correlation in the GC r{sub h} color and the GC r{sub h} -R {sub gal} relations, the more significant GC size-dynamics relation appears to be astrophysically more relevant and hints at the dominant influence of the GC orbit distribution function on the evolution of GC structural parameters.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, 7820436, Santiago (Chile)
  2. Department of Physical Sciences, University of Napoli Federico II, via Cinthia 9, I-80126 Napoli (Italy)
  3. Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  4. Texas Tech University, Physics Department, Box 41051, Lubbock, TX 79409 (United States)
  5. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  6. Laboratory for X-Ray Astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356976
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 786; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COLOR; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DENSITY; DISPERSIONS; DISTANCE; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; EVOLUTION; GALAXIES; GALAXY CLUSTERS; MASS; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; ORBITS; RADIAL VELOCITY; SIMULATION; SPACE; SPATIAL RESOLUTION; STAR CLUSTERS; TELESCOPES; VISIBLE RADIATION