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|Surface Brightness Profiles for a Sample of LMC, SMC, and Fornax Galaxy Globular Clusters|
We use Hubble Space Telescope archival images to measure central surfacebrightness profiles of globular clusters around satellite galaxies ofthe Milky Way. We report results for 21 clusters around the LMC, fivearound the SMC, and four around the Fornax dwarf galaxy. The profileswere obtained using a recently developed technique based on measuringintegrated light, which is tested on an extensive simulated data set.Our results show that for 70% of the sample, the central photometricpoints of our profiles are brighter than previous measurements usingstar counts with deviations as large as 2 mag arcsec-2. About40% of the objects have central profiles deviating from a flat centralcore, with central logarithmic slopes continuously distributed between-0.2 and -1.2. These results are compared with those found for a sampleof Galactic clusters using the same method. We confirm the knowncorrelation in which younger clusters tend to have smaller core radii,and we find that they also have brighter central surface brightnessvalues. This seems to indicate that globular clusters might be bornrelatively concentrated, and that a profile with an extended flat coremight not be the ideal choice for initial profiles in theoreticalmodels.
|A Database of 2MASS Near-Infrared Colors of Magellanic Cloud Star Clusters|
The (rest-frame) near-IR domain contains important stellar populationdiagnostics and is often used to estimate masses of galaxies at low, aswell as high, redshifts. However, many stellar population models arestill relatively poorly calibrated in this part of the spectrum. Toallow an improvement of this calibration we present a new database ofintegrated near-IR JHKs magnitudes for 75 star clusters inthe Magellanic Clouds, using the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). Themajority of the clusters in our sample have robust age and metallicityestimates from color-magnitude diagrams available in the literature, andpopulate a range of ages from 10 Myr to 15 Gyr and a range in [Fe/H]from -2.17 to +0.01 dex. A comparison with matched star clusters in the2MASS Extended Source Catalog (XSC) reveals that the XSC only provides agood fit to the unresolved component of the cluster stellar population.We also compare our results with the often-cited single-channel JHKphotometry of Persson and coworkers and find significant differences,especially for their 30" diameter apertures, up to ~2.5 mag in the Kband, more than 1 mag in J-K, and up to 0.5 mag in H-K. Usingsimulations to center apertures based on maximum light throughput (asperformed by Persson et al.), we show that these differences can beattributed to near-IR-bright cluster stars (e.g., carbon stars) locatedaway from the true center of the star clusters. The wide age andmetallicity coverage of our integrated JHKs photometry sampleconstitute a fundamental data set for testing population synthesis modelpredictions and for direct comparison with near-IR observations ofdistant stellar populations.
|Resolved Massive Star Clusters in the Milky Way and Its Satellites: Brightness Profiles and a Catalog of Fundamental Parameters|
We present a database of structural and dynamical properties for 153spatially resolved star clusters in the Milky Way, the Large and SmallMagellanic Clouds, and the Fornax dwarf spheroidal. This databasecomplements and extends others in the literature, such as those ofHarris and Mackey & Gilmore. Our cluster sample comprises 50 ``youngmassive clusters'' in the LMC and SMC, and 103 old globular clustersbetween the four galaxies. The parameters we list include central andhalf-light-averaged surface brightnesses and mass densities; core andeffective radii; central potentials, concentration parameters, and tidalradii; predicted central velocity dispersions and escape velocities;total luminosities, masses, and binding energies; central phase-spacedensities; half-mass relaxation times; and ``κ-space'' parameters.We use publicly available population-synthesis models to computestellar-population properties (intrinsic B-V colors, reddenings, andV-band mass-to-light ratios) for the same 153 clusters plus another 63globulars in the Milky Way. We also take velocity-dispersionmeasurements from the literature for a subset of 57 (mostly old)clusters to derive dynamical mass-to-light ratios for them, showing thatthese compare very well to the population-synthesis predictions. Thecombined data set is intended to serve as the basis for futureinvestigations of structural correlations and the fundamental plane ofmassive star clusters, including especially comparisons between thesystemic properties of young and old clusters.The structural and dynamical parameters are derived from fitting threedifferent models-the modified isothermal sphere of King; an alternatemodified isothermal sphere based on the ad hoc stellar distributionfunction of Wilson; and asymptotic power-law models withconstant-density cores-to the surface-brightness profile of eachcluster. Surface-brightness data for the LMC, SMC, and Fornax clustersare based in large part on the work of Mackey & Gilmore, but includesignificant supplementary data culled from the literature and importantcorrections to Mackey & Gilmore's V-band magnitude scale. Theprofiles of Galactic globular clusters are taken from Trager et al. Weaddress the question of which model fits each cluster best, finding inthe majority of cases that the Wilson models-which are spatially moreextended than King models but still include a finite, ``tidal'' cutoffin density-fit clusters of any age, in any galaxy, as well as or betterthan King models. Untruncated, asymptotic power laws often fit about aswell as Wilson models but can be significantly worse. We argue that theextended halos known to characterize many Magellanic Cloud clusters maybe examples of the generic envelope structure of self-gravitating starclusters, not just transient features associated strictly with youngage.
|New Optical and Near-Infrared Surface Brightness Fluctuation Models. II. Young and Intermediate-Age Stellar Populations|
We present theoretical surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) amplitudesfor single-burst stellar populations of young and intermediate age (25Myr<=t<=5 Gyr) and metallicities Z=0.0003, 0.001, 0.004, 0.008,0.01, 0.02, and 0.04. The fluctuation magnitudes and colors as expectedin the Johnson-Cousins (UBVRIJHK) photometric system are provided. Wepay attention to the contribution of thermally pulsating asymptoticgiant branch (TP-AGB) stars. The sensitivity of the predicted SBF tochanges in the mass-loss scenario along the TP-AGB phase is examined.Below 0.6-1 Gyr both optical and near-IR SBF models exhibit a strongdependence on age and mass loss. We also evaluate SBF amplitudes usingMonte Carlo techniques to reproduce the random variation in the numberof stars experiencing bright and fast evolutionary phases (red giantbranch, AGB, TP-AGB). On these grounds we provide constraints on thefaintest integrated flux of real stellar populations required to derivereliable and meaningful SBF measurements. We analyze a technique forderiving SBF amplitudes of star clusters from the photometry ofindividual stars and estimate the uncertainty due to statisticaleffects, which may impinge on the procedure. The first optical SBFmeasurements for 11 Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) star-rich clusters-withages ranging from a few megayears to several gigayears-are derived usingHubble Space Telescope observations. The measurements are compared toour SBF predictions, providing a good agreement with models ofmetallicity Z=0.0001-0.01. Our results suggest that, for TP-AGB stars, amass loss as a power-law function of the star luminosity is required inorder to properly reproduce the optical SBF data of the LMC clusters.Finally, near-IR models have been compared to available data, thusshowing that the general trend is well fitted. We suggest how toovercome the general problem of SBF models in reproducing the details ofthe near-IR SBF measurements of the Magellanic Cloud star clusters.
|Comparing the properties of local globular cluster systems: implications for the formation of the Galactic halo|
We investigate the hypothesis that some fraction of the globularclusters presently observed in the Galactic halo formed in externaldwarf galaxies. This is done by means of a detailed comparison betweenthe `old halo', `young halo' and `bulge/disc' subsystems defined by Zinnand the globular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud, SmallMagellanic Cloud, and Fornax and Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxies.We first use high-quality photometry from Hubble Space Telescope imagesto derive a complete set of uniform measurements of horizontal branch(HB) morphology in the external clusters. We also compile structural andmetallicity measurements for these objects and update the data base ofsuch measurements for the Galactic globular clusters, including newcalculations of HB morphology for 11 objects. Using these data togetherwith recent measurements of globular cluster kinematics and ages weexamine the characteristics of the three Galactic cluster subsystems.Each is quite distinct in terms of their spatial and age distributions,age-metallicity relationships, and typical orbital parameters, althoughwe observe some old halo clusters with ages and orbits more similar tothose of young halo objects. In addition, almost all of the Galacticglobular clusters with large core radii fall into the young halosubsystem, while the old halo and bulge/disc ensembles are characterizedby compact clusters. We demonstrate that the majority of the externalglobular clusters are essentially indistinguishable from the Galacticyoung halo objects in terms of HB morphology, but ~20-30 per cent ofexternal clusters have HB morphologies most similar to the Galactic oldhalo clusters. We further show that the external clusters have adistribution of core radii which very closely matches that for the younghalo objects. The old halo distribution of core radii can be very wellrepresented by a composite distribution formed from ~83-85 per cent ofobjects with structures typical of bulge/disc clusters, and ~15-17 percent of objects with structures typical of external clusters. Takentogether our results fully support the accretion hypothesis. We concludethat all 30 young halo clusters and 15-17 per cent of the old haloclusters (10-12 objects) are of external origin. Based on cluster numbercounts, we estimate that the Galaxy may have experienced approximatelyseven merger events with cluster-bearing dwarf-spheroidal-type galaxiesduring its lifetime, building up ~45-50 per cent of the mass of theGalactic stellar halo. Finally, we identify a number of old halo objectswhich have properties characteristic of accreted clusters. Several ofthe clusters associated with the recently proposed dwarf galaxy in CanisMajor fall into this category.
|Globular clusters and the formation of the outer Galactic halo|
Globular clusters in the outer halo (Rgc > 15kpc) arefound to be systematically fainter than those at smaller Galactocentricdistances. Within the outer halo the compact clusters with half-lightradii Rh < 10pc are only found at Rgc <40kpc, while on the other hand the larger clusters with Rh> 10pc are encountered at all Galactocentric distances. Among thecompact clusters with Rh < 10pc that have Rgc> 15kpc, there are two objects with surprisingly high metallicities.One of these is Terzan 7, which is a companion of the Sagittarius dwarf.The other is Palomar 1. The data on these two objects suggests that theymight have had similar evolutionary histories. It is also noted that,with one exception, luminous globular clusters in the outer halo are allcompact whereas faint ones may have any radius. This also holds forglobular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Small Magellanic Cloudand Fornax dwarf. The lone exception is the large luminous globular NGC2419. Possibly this object is not a normal globular cluster, but thestripped core of a former dwarf spheroidal. In this respect it mayresemble ω Centauri.
|Globular Cluster and Galaxy Formation: M31, the Milky Way, and Implications for Globular Cluster Systems of Spiral Galaxies|
We find that the globular cluster (GC) systems of the Milky Way and ofour neighboring spiral galaxy, M31, comprise two distinct entities,differing in three respects. First, M31 has a set of young GCs, rangingin age from a few times 102 Myr to 5 Gyr old, as well as oldGCs. No such very young GCs are known in the Milky Way. Second, weconfirm that the oldest M31 GCs have much higher nitrogen abundancesthan do Galactic GCs at equivalent metallicities, while carbonabundances appear normal for the GCs in both galaxies. Third, Morrisonand coworkers have shown that M31 has a subcomponent of GCs that followclosely the disk rotation curve of that galaxy. Such a GC system in ourown Galaxy has yet to be found. The only plausible scenario for theexistence of the young M31 GC comes from thehierarchical-clustering-merging (HCM) paradigm for galaxy formation. Weinfer that M31 has absorbed more of its contingent of dwarf systems inthe recent past than has the Milky Way. This inference has threeimplications: First, all spiral galaxies could differ in their GCproperties, depending on how many companions each galaxy has and whenthe parent galaxy absorbs them. In this spectrum of possibilities,apparently the Milky Way ties down one end, in which almost all of itsGCs were absorbed 10-12 Gyr ago. Second, it suggests that young GCs arepreferentially formed in the dwarf companions of parent galaxies andthen absorbed by the parent galaxy during mergers. Third, the young GCsseen in tidally interacting galaxies might come from the dwarfcompanions of these galaxies, rather than be made anew in the tidalinteraction. However, there is no ready explanation for the markeddifference in nitrogen abundance for the stars in the old M31 GCsrelative to those in the oldest Galactic GCs, especially the mostmetal-poor GCs in both galaxies. The predictions made by Li &Burstein regarding the origin of nitrogen abundance in GCs areconsistent with what is found for the old M31 GCs compared to that forthe two 5 Gyr old M31 GCs.Observations reported here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a jointfacility of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona.
|Infrared Surface Brightness Fluctuations of Magellanic Star Clusters|
We present surface brightness fluctuations (SBFs) in the near-IR for 191Magellanic star clusters available in the Second Incremental and All SkyData releases of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) and compare themwith SBFs of Fornax Cluster galaxies and with predictions from stellarpopulation models as well. We also construct color-magnitude diagrams(CMDs) for these clusters using the 2MASS Point Source Catalog (PSC).Our goals are twofold. The first is to provide an empirical calibrationof near-IR SBFs, given that existing stellar population synthesis modelsare particularly discrepant in the near-IR. Second, whereas mostprevious SBF studies have focused on old, metal-rich populations, thisis the first application to a system with such a wide range of ages(~106 to more than 1010 yr, i.e., 4 orders ofmagnitude), at the same time that the clusters have a very narrow rangeof metallicities (Z~0.0006-0.01, i.e., 1 order of magnitude only). Sincestellar population synthesis models predict a more complex sensitivityof SBFs to metallicity and age in the near-IR than in the optical, thisanalysis offers a unique way of disentangling the effects of age andmetallicity. We find a satisfactory agreement between models and data.We also confirm that near-IR fluctuations and fluctuation colors aremostly driven by age in the Magellanic cluster populations and that inthis respect they constitute a sequence in which the Fornax Clustergalaxies fit adequately. Fluctuations are powered by red supergiantswith high-mass precursors in young populations and by intermediate-massstars populating the asymptotic giant branch in intermediate-agepopulations. For old populations, the trend with age of both fluctuationmagnitudes and colors can be explained straightforwardly by evolution inthe structure and morphology of the red giant branch. Moreover,fluctuation colors display a tendency to redden with age that can befitted by a straight line. For the star clusters only,(H-Ks)=(0.21+/-0.03)log(age)-(1.29+/-0.22) once galaxies areincluded, (H-Ks)=(0.20+/-0.02)log(age)-(1.25+/-0.16).Finally, we use for the first time a Poissonian approach to establishthe error bars of fluctuation measurements, instead of the customaryMonte Carlo simulations.This research has made use of the NASA/ IPAC Infrared Science Archive,which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Instituteof Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration.
|Photometry of Magellanic Cloud clusters with the Advanced Camera for Surveys - I. The old Large Magellanic Cloud clusters NGC 1928, 1939 and Reticulum|
We present the results of photometric measurements from images of theLarge Magellanic Cloud (LMC) globular clusters NGC 1928, 1939 andReticulum taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble SpaceTelescope. Exposures through the F555W and F814W filters result inhigh-accuracy colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) for these three clusters.This is the first time that CMDs for NGC 1928 and 1939 have beenpublished. All three clusters possess CMDs with features indicating themto be >10 Gyr old, including main-sequence turn-offs at V~ 23 andwell-populated horizontal branches (HBs). We use the CMDs to obtainmetallicity and reddening estimates for each cluster. NGC 1939 is ametal-poor cluster, with [Fe/H]=-2.10 +/- 0.19, while NGC 1928 issignificantly more metal rich, with [Fe/H]=-1.27 +/- 0.14. The abundanceof Reticulum is intermediate between the two, with [Fe/H]=-1.66 +/-0.12- a measurement which matches well with previous estimates. Allthree clusters are moderately reddened, with values ranging from E(V-I)= 0.07 +/- 0.02 for Reticulum and E(V-I) = 0.08 +/- 0.02 for NGC 1928,to E(V-I) = 0.16 +/- 0.03 for NGC 1939. After correcting the CMDs forextinction we estimate the HB morphology of each cluster. NGC 1928 and1939 possess HBs consisting almost exclusively of stars to the blue ofthe instability strip, with NGC 1928 in addition showing evidence for anextended blue HB. In contrast, Reticulum has an intermediate HBmorphology, with stars across the instability strip. Using a variety ofdating techniques we show that these three clusters are coeval with eachother and the oldest Galactic and LMC globular clusters, to within ~2Gyr. The census of known old LMC globular clusters therefore now numbers15 plus the unique, younger cluster ESO121-SC03. The NGC 1939 fieldcontains another cluster in the line of sight, NGC 1938. A CMD for thisobject shows it to be less than ~400 Myr old, and it is thereforeunlikely to be physically associated with NGC 1939.
|Cluster Mass Functions in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds: Fading and Size-of-Sample Effects|
The properties of ~939 star clusters in the Large and Small MagellanicClouds were determined from ground-based CCD images in UBVR passbands.The areal coverage was extensive, corresponding to 11.0 kpc2in the LMC and 8.3 kpc2 in the SMC. After corrections forreddening, the colors and magnitudes of the clusters were converted toages and masses, and the resulting mass distributions were searched forthe effects of fading, evaporation, and size-of-sample bias. The datashow a clear signature of cluster fading below the detection threshold.The initial cluster mass function (ICMF) was determined by fitting themass and age distributions with cluster population models. These modelssuggest a new method to determine the ICMF that is nearly independent offading or disruption and is based on the slope of a correlation betweenage and the maximum cluster mass in equally spaced intervals of log age.For a nearly uniform star formation rate, this correlation has a slopeequal to 1/(α-1) for an ICMF of dn(M)/dM~M-α. Wedetermine that α is between 2 and 2.4 for the LMC and SMC usingthis method plus another method in which models are fitted to the massdistribution integrated over age and to the age distribution integratedover mass. The maximum mass method also suggests that the clusterformation rate in the LMC age gap between 3 and 13 Gyr is about a factorof 10 below that in the period from 0.1 to 1 Gyr. The oldest clusterscorrespond in age and mass to halo globular clusters in the Milky Way.They do not fit the trends for lower mass clusters but appear to be aseparate population that either had a very high star formation rate andbecame depleted by evaporation or formed with only high masses.
|Analyzing Starbursts Using Magellanic Cloud Star Clusters as Simple Stellar Populations|
Integrated spectra have been obtained of 31 star clusters in theMagellanic Clouds (MC) and of four Galactic globular clusters. Thespectra cover the wavelength range 3500-4700 Å at a resolution of3.2 Å FWHM. The MC clusters primarily cover the age range fromless than 108 to about 3 Gyr and hence are well-suited to anempirical study of aging poststarburst stellar populations. Anage-dating method is presented that relies on two spectral absorptionfeature indices, Hδ/Fe I λ4045 and Ca II, as well as anindex measuring the strength of the Balmer discontinuity. We compare thebehavior of the spectral indices in the observed integrated spectra ofthe MC clusters with that of indices generated from theoreticalevolutionary synthesis models of varying age and metal abundance. Thesynthesis models are based on those of Worthey, when coupled with thecombination of an empirical library of stellar spectra by Jones for thecooler stars and synthetic spectra, generated from Kurucz modelatmospheres, for the hotter stars. Overall, we find good agreementbetween the ages of the MC clusters derived from our integrated spectra(and the evolutionary synthesis modelling of the spectral indices) andages derived from analyses of the cluster color-magnitude diagrams, asfound in the literature. Hence, the principal conclusion of this studyis that ages of young stellar populations can be reliably measured frommodelling of their integrated spectra.
|Surface brightness profiles and structural parameters for globular clusters in the Fornax and Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxies|
We present radial surface brightness profiles for all five globularclusters in the Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy, and for the four presentmembers of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy. These profiles arederived from archival Hubble Space Telescope observations, and have beencalculated using the same techniques with which we measured profiles inour previous studies of Large and Small Magellanic Cloud (LMC and SMC)clusters, apart from some small modifications. From the surfacebrightness profiles, we have determined structural parameters for eachcluster, including core radii and luminosity and mass estimates. We alsoprovide a brief summary of literature measurements of other parametersfor these clusters, including their ages, metallicities and distances.Our core radius measurements are mostly in good agreement with thosefrom previous lower resolution studies, although for several clustersour new values are significantly different. The profile for Fornaxcluster 5 does not appear to be well fitted by a King-type model and wesuggest that it is a post-core-collapse candidate. We examine thedistribution of cluster core radii in each of the two dwarf galaxysystems and compare these with the distribution of core radii for oldLMC clusters. The three distributions match within the limits ofmeasurement errors and the small-sample sizes. We discuss theimplications of this in the context of the radius-age trend we havepreviously highlighted for the Magellanic Cloud clusters.
|Surface brightness profiles and structural parameters for 53 rich stellar clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
We have compiled a pseudo-snapshot data set of two-colour observationsfrom the Hubble Space Telescope archive for a sample of 53 rich LMCclusters with ages of 106-1010 yr. We presentsurface brightness profiles for the entire sample, and derive structuralparameters for each cluster, including core radii, and luminosity andmass estimates. Because we expect the results presented here to form thebasis for several further projects, we describe in detail the datareduction and surface brightness profile construction processes, andcompare our results with those of previous ground-based studies. Thesurface brightness profiles show a large amount of detail, includingirregularities in the profiles of young clusters (such as bumps, dipsand sharp shoulders), and evidence for both double clusters andpost-core-collapse (PCC) clusters. In particular, we find power-lawprofiles in the inner regions of several candidate PCC clusters, withslopes of approximately -0.7, but showing considerable variation. Weestimate that 20 +/- 7 per cent of the old cluster population of theLarge Magellanic Cloud (LMC) has entered PCC evolution, a similarfraction to that for the Galactic globular cluster system. In addition,we examine the profile of R136 in detail and show that it is probablynot a PCC cluster. We also observe a trend in core radius with age thathas been discovered and discussed in several previous publications bydifferent authors. Our diagram has better resolution, however, andappears to show a bifurcation at several hundred Myr. We argue that thisobserved relationship reflects true physical evolution in LMC clusters,with some experiencing small-scale core expansion owing to mass loss,and others large-scale expansion owing to some unidentifiedcharacteristic or physical process.
|Testing stellar population models with star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
We present high signal-to-noise ratio integrated spectra of 24 starclusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), obtained using the FLAIRspectrograph at the UK Schmidt telescope. The spectra have been placedon to the Lick/IDS system in order to test the calibration of SimpleStellar Population (SSP) models. We have compared the SSP-predictedmetallicities of the clusters with those from the literature,predominantly taken from the Ca-triplet spectroscopy of Olszewski et al.(1991). We find that there is good agreement between the metallicitiesin the range -2.10 <=[Fe/H]<= 0. However, the Mg2 index(and to a lesser degree Mg b) systematically predict highermetallicities (up to +0.5 dex higher) than . Among thepossible explanations for this are that the LMC clusters possess[α/Fe] > 0. Metallicities are presented for eleven LMC clusterswhich have no previous measurements. We compare SSP ages for theclusters, derived from the Hβ, Hγ and Hδ Lick/IDSindices, with the available literature data, and find good agreement forthe vast majority. This includes six old globular clusters in oursample, which have ages consistent with their HST colour-magnitudediagram (CMD) ages and/or integrated colours. However, two globularclusters, NGC 1754 and NGC 2005, identified as old (~15 Gyr) on thebasis of HST CMDs, have Hβ line-strengths which lead ages that aretoo low (~8 and ~6 Gyr respectively). These findings are inconsistentwith their CMD-derived values at the 3σ level. Comparison betweenthe horizontal branch morphology and the Balmer line strengths of theseclusters suggests that the presence of blue horizontal branch stars hasincreased their Balmer indices by up to ~1.0 Å. We conclude thatthe Lick/IDS indices, used in conjunction with contemporary SSP models,are able to reproduce the ages and metallicities of the LMC clustersreassuringly well. The required extrapolations of the fitting functionsand stellar libraries in the models to lower ages and low metallicitiesdo not lead to serious systematic errors. However, owing to thesignificant contribution of horizontal branch stars to Balmer indices,SSP model ages derived for metal-poor globular clusters are ambiguouswithout a priori knowledge of horizontal branch morphology.
|Constraining the LMC cluster age gap: Washington photometry of NGC 2155 and SL 896 (LW 480)|
We carried out Washington system photometry of the intermediate-ageLarge Magellanic Cloud (LMC) star clusters NGC2155 and SL896 (LW480). Wederive ages and metallicities from the T1 versusC-T1 colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs). For the first time anage has been obtained for SL896, 2.3+/-0.5Gyr. For NGC2155 we derive3.6+/-0.7Gyr. The two clusters basically define the lower age limit ofthe LMC age gap. In particular, NGC2155 is confirmed as the oldestintermediate-age LMC cluster so far studied. The derived metallicitiesare [Fe/H]=-0.9+/-0.2 and -0.6+/-0.2 for NGC2155 and SL896,respectively. We also studied the CMDs of the surrounding fields, whichhave a dominant turn-off comparable to that of the clusters themselves,and similar metallicity, showing that one is dealing with anintermediate-age disc where clusters and field stars have the sameorigin. We inserted the present clusters in the LMC and Small MagellanicCloud (SMC) age-metallicity relations, using a set of homogeneousdeterminations with the same method as in our previous studies, nowtotalling 15 LMC clusters and four SMC clusters, together with someadditional values from the literature. The LMC and SMC age-metallicityrelations appear to be remarkably complementary, since the SMC wasactively star-forming during the LMC quiescent age gap epoch.
|Ages and metallicities of five intermediate-age star clusters projected towards the Small Magellanic Cloud|
Colour-magnitude diagrams are presented for the first time for L32, L38,K28 (L43), K44 (L68) and L116, which are clusters projected on to theouter parts of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The photometry wascarried out in the Washington system C and T1 filters,allowing the determination of ages by means of the magnitude differencebetween the red giant clump and the main-sequence turn-off, andmetallicities from the red giant branch locus. The clusters have ages inthe range 2-6Gyr, and metallicities in the range-1.65<[Fe/H]<-1.10, increasing the sample of intermediate-ageclusters in the SMC. L116, the outermost cluster projected on to theSMC, is a foreground cluster, and somewhat closer to us than the LargeMagellanic Cloud. Our results, combined with those for other clusters inthe literature, show epochs of sudden chemical enrichment in theage-metallicity plane, which favour a bursting star formation history asopposed to a continuous one for the SMC.
|New Photometry for the Intermediate-Age Large Magellanic Cloud Globular Cluster NGC 2121 and the Nature of the LMC Age Gap|
We report new photometry for the cluster NGC 2121 in the LargeMagellanic Cloud, which shows a prominent hydrogen core exhaustion gapat the turnoff and a descending subgiant branch reminiscent of Galacticopen clusters. We achieve an excellent fit using the Girardi isochrones,finding an age of 3.2+/-0.5 Gyr, with [Fe/H]=-0.6+/-0.2. The isochronesfit the color and shape of the turnoff and subgiant branch so preciselythat we can constrain the metallicity, as well as the age. The sameisochrones also fit SL 663 and NGC 2155, although our photometry forthese clusters has much larger errors. We find these clusters to be 0.8Gyr younger and 0.4 dex more metal-rich than recently reported in theliterature. Consequently, we argue that NGC 2121, NGC 2155, and SL 663are not properly assigned to the age gap in the LMC, but instead areamong the first clusters to be have formed in the relatively metal-rich,younger group of LMC clusters. We propose a new definition of the LMCage gap as extending from 3.2 to 13 Gyr, with ESO 121-SC03 still theonly remaining candidate for membership in the age gap. Based onobservations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) obtained atthe Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc.,under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
|The elliptical galaxy formerly known as the Local Group: merging the globular cluster systems|
Prompted by a new catalogue of M31 globular clusters, we have collectedtogether individual metallicity values for globular clusters in theLocal Group. Although we briefly describe the globular cluster systemsof the individual Local Group galaxies, the main thrust of our paper isto examine the collective properties. In this way we are simulating thedissipationless merger of the Local Group, into presumably an ellipticalgalaxy. Such a merger is dominated by the Milky Way and M31, whichappear to be fairly typical examples of globular cluster systems ofspiral galaxies. The Local Group `Elliptical' has about 700 +/- 125globular clusters, with a luminosity function resembling the `universal'one. The metallicity distribution has peaks at [Fe/H] ~ -1.55 and -0.64with a metal-poor to metal-rich ratio of 2.5:1. The specific frequencyof the Local Group Elliptical is initially about 1 but rises to about 3,when the young stellar populations fade and the galaxy resembles an oldelliptical. The metallicity distribution and stellar populationcorrected specific frequency are similar to that of some known earlytype galaxies. Based on our results, we briefly speculate on the originof globular cluster systems in galaxies.
|Star Formation Histories from Hubble Space Telescope Color-Magnitude Diagrams of Six Fields of the Large Magellanic Cloud|
We present results on the analysis of background field stars found inHubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 observations of sixof the old globular clusters of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Treated ascontaminants by the globular cluster analysts, we produce (V-I,V)color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of the field stars and use them toexplore the LMC's star formation history. The photometry approachesV~26, well below the turnoff of an ancient (~14 Gyr) LMC population ofstars. The field star CMDs are generally characterized by an upper mainsequence broadened by stellar evolution, an old red giant branch, aprominent red clump, and an unevolved lower main sequence. The CMDs alsocontain a few visual differences, the most obvious of which is thesmeared appearance of the NGC 1916 field caused by heavy differentialreddening. More subtly, the base of the subgiant branch near the oldturnoff appears extended in V, and the red giant branch appears broad inV-I in four of the fields but not in the NGC 1754 field. We use amaximum likelihood technique to fit model CMDs drawn from Bertelli etal. isochrones to the observed CMDs. We constrain the models by theage-metallicity relation derived from LMC clusters, test four initialmass function (IMF) slopes, and fit for the reddening, distance modulus,and star formation rate. We find that we can just resolve structure inSFR(t) with time steps of ~0.15 in log(age), implying a resolution of~4x10^8 yr at an age of 1 Gyr. For a Salpeter IMF, our derived starformation history for the NGC 1754 field is characterized by an enhancedstar formation rate over the past 4 Gyr, qualitatively resembling thatderived by others for a variety of LMC fields. The remaining fourfields, however, appear to have had high levels of star formationactivity as long as 5-8 Gyr ago; these fields lie in the LMC bar whereasthe NGC 1754 field lies in the disk, suggesting that the inner regionsof the LMC contain significantly more older stars than the outerregions. Examining the residuals of the models and observations, we findthat the old red giant branches of the models provide a poor fit to theobservations, which suggests an error in the model isochrones. Theeffect of the disagreement appears to be to underestimate thecontribution of the old population.
|Spectroscopic analysis of the candidate globular clusters NGC 1928 and 1939 in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
The integrated spectral properties in the range 3600-6700 A of thecandidate old clusters NGC 1928 and 1939 in the LMC bar are comparedwith those of old- and intermediate-age reference LMC clusters, theproperties of which are better established. It has been possible toinfer the age of the sample clusters by means of absorption features andthe continuum distribution, in particular in the plane W_M x W_B (whereW_B is the average of Hdelta, Hγ and H beta equivalent widths, andW_M that of Ca II K, G band and Mg i). The results indicate that NGC1928 and 1939 are compatible with old clusters. The metallicity isderived with respect to galactic globular cluster templates: [Fe/H]~-1.2 and -2.0 for NGC 1928 and 1939, respectively. We also discuss thecensus of Population II clusters in the LMC, their spatial distributionand the possibility of a LMC core and a transient morphologicalclassification for interacting late-type disc galaxies.
|A Revised and Extended Catalog of Magellanic System Clusters, Associations, and Emission Nebulae. II. The Large Magellanic Cloud|
A survey of extended objects in the Large Magellanic Cloud was carriedout on the ESO/SERC R and J Sky Survey Atlases, checking entries inprevious catalogs and searching for new objects. The census provided6659 objects including star clusters, emission-free associations, andobjects related to emission nebulae. Each of these classes containsthree subclasses with intermediate properties, which are used to infertotal populations. The survey includes cross identifications amongcatalogs, and we present 3246 new objects. We provide accuratepositions, classification, and homogeneous measurements of sizes andposition angles, as well as information on cluster pairs andhierarchical relation for superimposed objects. This unification andenlargement of catalogs is important for future searches of fainter andsmaller new objects. We discuss the angular and size distributions ofthe objects of the different classes. The angular distributions show twooff-centered systems with different inclinations, suggesting that theLMC disk is warped. The present catalog together with its previouscounterpart for the SMC and the inter-Cloud region provide a totalpopulation of 7847 extended objects in the Magellanic System. Theangular distribution of the ensemble reveals important clues on theinteraction between the LMC and SMC.
|HSTcolour-magnitude diagrams of six old globular clusters in the LMC|
We report on HST observations of six candidate old globular clusters inthe Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC): NGC 1754, 1835, 1898, 1916, 2005 and2019. Deep exposures with the F555W and F814W filters provide us withcolour-magnitude diagrams that reach to an apparent magnitude in V of~25, well below the main-sequence turn-off. These particular clustersare associated with significantly high LMC field star densities and carewas taken to subtract the field stars from the cluster colour-magnitudediagrams accurately. In two cases there is significant variablereddening across at least part of the image, but only for NGC 1916 doesthe differential reddening preclude accurate measurements of the CMDcharacteristics. The morphologies of the colour-magnitude diagrams matchwell those of Galactic globular clusters of similar metallicity. All sixhave well-developed horizontal branches, while four clearly have starson both sides of the RR Lyrae gap. The abundances obtained frommeasurements of the height of the red giant branch above the level ofthe horizontal branch are 0.3 dex higher, on average, than previouslymeasured spectroscopic abundances. Detailed comparisons with Galacticglobular cluster fiducials show that all six clusters are old objects,very similar in age to classical Galactic globulars such as M5, withlittle age spread among the clusters. This result is consistent withages derived by measuring the magnitude difference between thehorizontal branch and main-sequence turn-off. We also find a similarchronology by comparing the horizontal branch morphologies andabundances with the horizontal branch evolutionary tracks of Lee,Demarque & Zinn. Our results imply that the LMC formed at the sametime as the Milky Way Galaxy.
|Star and Cluster Formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
A great burst of cluster formation increased the rate at which openclusters were formed in the Large Magellanic Cloud 3-5 Gyr ago by atleast an order of magnitude. On the other hand, the rate of starformation ~4 Gyr appears to have increased by a factor of only 2-4. Thisshows that the rate of cluster formation is not a good tracer of therate at which stars are formed. Normalized to the same rate of starformation, the Large Magellanic Cloud is presently forming >~600times more star clusters than the Local Group dwarf irregular IC 1613.The high rate of cluster formation in merging gas-rich galaxies suggeststhat strong shocks might favor the formation of clusters.
|WFPC2 Observations of Star Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds. II. The Oldest Star Clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud|
We present our analysis of archival Hubble Space Telescope Wide FieldPlanetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) observations in F450W (~B) and F555W (~V) ofthe intermediate-age populous star clusters NGC 121, NGC 339, NGC 361,NGC 416, and Kron 3 in the Small Magellanic Cloud. We use publishedphotometry of two other SMC populous star clusters, Lindsay 1 andLindsay 113, to investigate the age sequence of these seven starclusters in order to improve our understanding of the formationchronology of the SMC. We analyzed the V versus B-V and M_V versus(B-V)_0 color-magnitude diagrams of these populous Small MagellanicCloud star clusters using a variety of techniques and determined theirages, metallicities, and reddenings. These new data enable us to improvethe age-metallicity relation of star clusters in the Small MagellanicCloud. In particular, we find that a closed-box continuous starformation model does not reproduce the age-metallicity relationadequately. However, a theoretical model punctuated by bursts of starformation is in better agreement with the observational data presentedherein.
|A Search for Old Star Clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
Abstract image available at:http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997AJ....114.1920G
|Core velocity dispersions for 25 Galactic and 10 old Magellanic globular clusters.|
We present, for 25 Galactic and 10 old Magellanic globular clusters,projected velocity dispersion (σ_p_) measurements obtained byapplying a cross-correlation technique to integrated-light spectra. Inorder to understand and estimate the statistical errors of thesemeasurements due to small numbers of bright stars dominating theintegrated light, we provide an extensive discussion based on detailednumerical simulations. These errors are smaller if the integration areais larger and/or the cluster concentration higher. The simulations showthat measurements are reliable when the integrated light within theintegration area is brighter than a given magnitude. The statisticalerrors on the σ_p_ measurements of Magellanic globular clustersare small because of a physically large integration area, whereas theycan be important for measurements carried out over small central areasin Galactic clusters. The present observational results are used tooutline a few characteristics of the globular cluster fundamental plane.In this respect, the old Magellanic globular clusters appear similar tothe Galactic clusters.
|Integrated UBV Photometry of 624 Star Clusters and Associations in the Large Magellanic Cloud|
We present a catalog of integrated UBV photometry of 504 star clustersand 120 stellar associations in the LMC, part of them still embedded inemitting gas. We study age groups in terms of equivalent SWB typesderived from the (U-B) X (B-V) diagram. The size of the spatialdistributions increases steadily with age (SWB types), whereas adifference of axial ratio exists between the groups younger than 30 Myrand those older, which implies a nearly face-on orientation for theformer and a tilt of ~45^deg^ for the latter groups. Asymmetries arepresent in the spatial distributions, which, together with thenoncoincidence of the centroids for different age groups, suggest thatthe LMC disk was severely perturbed in the past.
|Old and Intermediate-Age Stellar Populations in the Magellanic Clouds|
The Magellanic Clouds have galactocentric distances of 50 and 63kiloparsecs, making it possible to probe the older populations ofclusters and stars in some detail. Although it is clear that bothgalaxies contain an old population, it is not yet certain whether thispopulation is coeval with the date of formation of the oldest globularsin the Milky Way. The kinematics of this old population in the LargeMagellanic Cloud (LMC) are surprising; no component of this oldpopulation is currently measured to be part of a hot halo supported byvelocity dispersion. Spectroscopy of field stars is beginning to showthe existence of a small population of stars with abundances [Fe/H] lessthan -1.4. These stars will help to unravel the star-formation historywhen the next generation of telescopes are commissioned. Asymptoticgiant branch stars, long-period variables, planetary nebulae, andhorizontal-branch clump stars can be used to trace the extent andkinematics of the intermediate-age population. Deep color-magnitudediagrams can be used to derive the relative proportions of stars olderthan 1 Gyr. The age distribution of populous clusters and theage-metallicity relation are used to compare the evolution of the twoMagellanic Clouds to each other. The issue of where the LMC's metalsoriginated is explored, as is the question of what triggers starformation in the Clouds.
|Ultraviolet spectral evolution of star clusters in the IUE library.|
The ultraviolet integrated spectra of star clusters and H II regions inthe IUE library have been classified into groups based on their spectralappearance, as well as on age and metallicity information from otherstudies. We have coadded the spectra in these groups according to theirS/N ratio, creating a library of template spectra for futureapplications in population syntheses in galaxies. We define spectralwindows for equivalent width measurements and for continuum tracings.These measurements in the spectra of the templates are studied as afunction of age and metallicity. We indicate the windows with a strongmetallicity dependence, at different age stages.
|Moment analysis applied to LMC star clusters|
Statistical moment-based ellipse fitting is performed on observations ofLarge Magellanic Cloud clusters, confirming that trends are evident intheir position angles and ellipticities, as had been reported in theliterature. Artificial cluster images with known parameters aregenerated, and subjected to the same analysis techniques, revealingapparent trends caused by stochastic processes. Caution should thereforebe exercised in the interpretation of observational trends in young LMCclusters.
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