Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Globular cluster systems in spiral galaxies
by Nantais, Julie Beth, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2010, 265; 3415423
Abstract (Summary)

We have performed a comprehensive spectroscopic and photometric analysis of the M81 globular cluster system, using Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) imaging in the B, V, and I bands and 74 globular cluster spectra from Hectospec at the MMT. We have also performed a small spectroscopic study of the NGC 300 globular cluster system using the Boller & Chivens (B&C) Spectrograph on the Baade Telescope in Chile. We confirm 9 probable globular clusters in NGC 300 and 3 possible clusters with very low radial velocities. For our full NGC 300 cluster sample, plus one cluster from the literature, we find a mean [Fe/H] = –0.94 ± 0.15; without the 3 "possible" clusters we find a mean [Fe/H] = –0.98 ± 0.12.

We identify over 200 globular cluster candidates in HST I-band imaging, and spectroscopically confirm 62 new globular clusters in M81. The M81 globular cluster system shows marginal evidence for a bimodal metallicity distribution. The mean metallicity of 107 confirmed M81 globular clusters is [Fe/H] = 1.06 ± 0.07. The M81 globular cluster system shows significant rotation, at 108 ± 22 km s-1. There is evidence for a metallicity gradient among the metal-poor clusters. We perform HST ACS BV I photometry and radial profile fitting on 85 spectroscopically confirmed globular clusters, 136 "good" globular cluster candidates, and 198 other star cluster candidates. The globular cluster luminosity function peaks at V0 ∼20.26. The properties of the M81 globular cluster system are very similar to those of the Milky Way and M31, suggesting a similar origin for all three galaxies. Our understanding of the origins of spiral galaxy globular cluster systems would be vastly improved by comprehensive studies of low-mass and late-type spiral galaxies, including HST I-band imaging to identify globular cluster candidates for spectroscopic confirmation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Huchra, John
School: Harvard University
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-B 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astronomy
Keywords: Galaxies, Globular cluster, Spiral galaxies, Star clusters
Publication Number: 3415423
ISBN: 9781124091037
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