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Globular Cluster Systems as Probes of Elliptical Galaxy Formation  [PDF]
Stephen E. Zepf
Physics , 1996,
Abstract: Globular cluster systems provide valuable fossil records of the formation history of their parent galaxies. This review specifically concentrates on using color distributions of the globular cluster systems of elliptical galaxies to distinguish between competing models for the formation of these galaxies. The observational requirements for testing various formation models are discussed, and the results of past and current studies are reviewed. The conclusions of these studies are that most color distributions appear to have two or more peaks, indicating an episodic formation history. This result is consistent with previous predictions of merger models for the formation of elliptical galaxies. Possibilities for improving these results in the future are also presented.
Constraints on Elliptical Galaxy Formation from the Properties of Their Globular Cluster Systems  [PDF]
Stephen E. Zepf
Physics , 1996,
Abstract: Globular clusters are valuable fossil records of the formation and evolution of their host galaxies. The color distribution of elliptical galaxy globular cluster systems indicates an episodic formation history, consistent with a merger origin for these galaxies. Spectroscopic studies of globular cluster systems are a promising route to further constrain models of elliptical galaxy formation. They also provide a useful probe of the mass distribution of ellipticals at large radii.
Globular cluster systems II: On the formation of old globular clusters and their sites of formation  [PDF]
Denis Burgarella,Markus Kissler-Patig,Veronique Buat
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/320397
Abstract: We studied the metal-poor globular cluster (GC) populations of a large variety of galaxies (47 galaxies spanning about 10mag in absolute brightness) and compared their mean [Fe/H] with the properties of the host galaxies. The mean [Fe/H] of the systems lie in the -1.65<[Fe/H]<-1.20 range (74% of the population). Using only GC systems with more than 6 objects detected, 85% of the population lie within -1.65<[Fe/H]<-1.20. The relation between the mean [Fe/H] of the metal-poor GC systems and the Mv of their host galaxies presents a very low slope which includes zero. An analysis of the correlation of the mean [Fe/H] with other galaxy properties also leads to the conclusion that no strong correlation exists. The lack of correlation suggests a formation of all metal-poor GC in similar gas fragments. A weak correlation might exist between mean [Fe/H] of the metal-poor GC and host galaxy metallicity. This would imply that some fragments in which metal-poor GC formed were already embedded in the larger dark matter halo of the final galaxy (as oppose to being independent satellites that were accreted later). Our result suggests a homogeneous formation of metal-poor GC in all galaxies, in typical fragments of masses around 10^9-10^10 solar masses with very similar metallicities, compatible with hierarchical formation scenarios for galaxies. We compared the mean [Fe/H] of the metal-poor GC populations with the typical metallicities of high-z objects. If we add the constraint that GC need a high column density of gas to form, DLAs are the most likely sites for the formation of metal-poor GC populations.
Constraints on Cluster Formation from Old Globular CLuster Systems  [PDF]
Dean E. McLaughlin
Physics , 2000,
Abstract: The properties of old globular cluster systems (GCSs) in galaxy halos offer unique insight into the physical processes that conspire to form any generic star cluster, at any epoch. Presented here is a summary of the information obtained from (1) the specific frequencies (total populations) and spatial structures (density vs. galactocentric radius) of GCSs in early-type galaxies, as they relate to the efficiency (or probability) of bound cluster formation, and (2) the fundamental role of a scaling between cluster mass and energy among Galactic globulars in setting their other structural correlations, and the possible implications for star formation efficiency as a function of mass in gaseous protoclusters.
Extragalactic Globular Cluster Systems: A new Perspective on Galaxy Formation and Evolution  [PDF]
Markus Kissler-Patig
Physics , 2000,
Abstract: We present an overview of observational progress in the study of extragalactic globular cluster systems. Globular clusters turn out to be excellent tracers not only for the star-formation histories in galaxies, but also for kinematics at large galactocentric radii. Their properties can be used to efficiently constrain galaxy formation and evolution. After a brief introduction of the current methods and futures perspectives, we summarize the knowledge gained in various areas of galaxy research through the study of globular clusters. In particular, we address the star-formation histories of early-type galaxies; globular cluster population in late-type galaxies and their link to early-type galaxies; star and cluster formation during mergers and violent interactions; and the kinematics at large radii in early-type galaxies. The different points are reviewed within the context of galaxy formation and evolution. Finally, we revisit the globular cluster luminosity function as a distance indicator. Despite its low popularity in the literature, we demonstrate that it ranks among one of the most precise distance indicators to early-type galaxies, provided that it is applied properly.
The Formation of Giant Elliptical Galaxies and Their Globular Cluster Systems  [PDF]
Patrick Cote,Ronald O. Marzke,Michael J. West
Physics , 1998, DOI: 10.1086/305838
Abstract: The bimodal globular cluster (GC) metallicity distributions of many giant elliptical galaxies are often cited as evidence for the formation of such galaxies through mergers involving gas-rich spirals. In such models, the metal- rich GCs are assumed to have formed during the merger process. We explore an alternative possibility: that these metal-rich clusters represent the galaxy's intrinsic GC population and that the metal-poor component of the observed GC metallicity distribution arises from the capture of GCs from other galaxies, either through mergers or through tidal stripping. Starting with plausible assumptions for the initial galaxy luminosity function and for the dependence of GC metallicity on parent galaxy luminosity, we show that the growth of a pre-existing seed galaxy through mergers and tidal stripping is accompanied by the capture of metal-poor GCs whose properties are similar to those which are observed to surround giant ellipticals. We describe a method of using the observed number of metal-poor and metal-rich GCs to infer the merger histories of individual elliptical galaxies, and use this technique to derive limits on the number of galaxies and total luminosity accreted to date by M49. We argue that although GC specific frequency is conserved in galaxy mergers, the same may not be true of tidal stripping by the mean field of the host galaxy cluster. Comparisons of model GC metallicity distributions and specific frequencies to those observed for the well-studied galaxies M49 and M87 show that it is possible to explain their bimodal GC metallicity distributions and discordant specific frequencies without resorting to the formation of new GCs in mergers or by invoking multiple bursts of GC formation.
Galaxy Formation from Spectroscopy of Extragalactic Globular Cluster Systems  [PDF]
Stephen E. Zepf
Physics , 1994,
Abstract: I discuss how spectroscopy of extragalactic globular clusters provides a powerful probe of the formation history and mass distribution of galaxies. One critical area is spectroscopy of objects which have been identified as candidate young globular clusters through HST imaging of galaxy mergers. I discuss how such data can constrain models of globular cluster and galaxy formation. As an example, I present new spectra which confirm the presence of young globular clusters in NGC 1275. A second way wide-field spectroscopy can be used to probe the formation history and mass distribution of galaxies is through spectroscopy of large numbers of globular clusters around elliptical galaxies. Metallicities obtained from such data place strong constraints on models of galaxy formation, and velocities determined from the same data provide kinematical tracers of the mass distribution out to distances of $\sim 100$ kpc.
Globular Cluster Systems in Nearby Dwarf Galaxies: III. Formation Efficiencies of Old Globular Clusters  [PDF]
Iskren Y. Georgiev,Thomas H. Puzia,Paul Goudfrooij,Michael Hilker
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16802.x
Abstract: We investigate the globular cluster (GC) system scaling parameters as a function of galaxy mass, i.e. specific frequency (S_N), specific luminosity (S_L), specific mass (S_M), and specific number (^T) of GCs. We sample the entire range in galaxy luminosity (Mv = -11 to -23 mag = 10^6 - 10^11 L_sol), environment, and morphology. Irrespective of galaxy type, we confirm the increase of the S_N-value above and below a galaxy magnitude of Mv = -20 mag. Over the full mass range, the S_L-value of early-type galaxies is, on average, twice that of late-types. To investigate the observed trends we derive theoretical predictions of GC system scaling parameters as a function of host galaxy mass based on the models of Dekel & Birnboim (2006) in which star-formation processes are regulated by stellar and supernova feedback below a stellar mass of 3x10^10 M_sol, and by virial shocks above it. We find that the analytical model describes remarkably well the shape of the GC system scaling parameter distributions with a universal specific GC formation efficiency, eta, which relates the total mass in GCs to the total galaxy halo mass. Early-type and late-type galaxies show a similar mean value of eta = 5.5e-5, with an increasing scatter towards lower galaxy masses. This can be due to the enhanced stochastic nature of the star and star-cluster formation processes for such systems. Some massive galaxies have excess eta values compared to what is expected from the mean model prediction for galaxies more luminous than Mv = -20 mag (Lv=10^10L_sol). This may be attributed to a very efficient early GC formation, less efficient production of field stars or accretion of predominantly low-mass/luminosity high-eta galaxies, or a mixture of all these effects. (Abridged)
Globular Cluster Formation in the Virgo Cluster  [PDF]
C. Corbett Moran,R. Teyssier,G. Lake
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu1057
Abstract: Metal poor globular clusters (MPGCs) are a unique probe of the early universe, in particular the reionization era. Systems of globular clusters in galaxy clusters are particularly interesting as it is in the progenitors of galaxy clusters that the earliest reionizing sources first formed. Although the exact physical origin of globular clusters is still debated, it is generally admitted that globular clusters form in early, rare dark matter peaks (Moore et al. 2006; Boley et al. 2009). We provide a fully numerical analysis of the Virgo cluster globular cluster system by identifying the present day globular cluster system with exactly such early, rare dark matter peaks. A popular hypothesis is that that the observed truncation of blue metal poor globular cluster formation is due to reionization (Spitler et al. 2012; Boley et al. 2009; Brodie & Strader 2006); adopting this view, constraining the formation epoch of MPGCs provides a complementary constraint on the epoch of reionization. By analyzing both the line of sight velocity dispersion and the surface density distribution of the present day distribution we are able to constrain the redshift and mass of the dark matter peaks. We find and quantify a dependence on the chosen line of sight of these quantities, whose strength varies with redshift, and coupled with star formation efficiency arguments find a best fitting formation mass and redshift of $\simeq 5 \times 10^8 \rm{M}_\odot$ and $z\simeq 9$. We predict $\simeq 300$ intracluster MPGCs in the Virgo cluster. Our results confirm the techniques pioneered by Moore et al. (2006) when applied to the the Virgo cluster and extend and refine the analytic results of Spitler et al. (2012) numerically.
The Globular Cluster Systems of Ellipticals and Spirals  [PDF]
Duncan A. Forbes
Physics , 2001,
Abstract: In this overview of the key properties of globular cluster (GC) systems I show that the GCs in elliptical and spiral host galaxies have more in common than previously thought. After contrasting these properties I briefly comment on GC formation.
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