STRUCTURAL PARAMETERS OF THE MESSIER 87 GLOBULAR CLUSTERS Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We derive structural parameters for ~2000 globular clusters in the giant Virgo elliptical M87 using extremely deep Hubble Space Telescope images in F606W (V) and F814W (I) taken with the ACS/WFC. The cluster scale sizes (half-light radii r_h) and ellipticities are determined from PSF-convolved King-model profile fitting. We find that the r_h distribution closely resembles the inner Milky Way clusters, peaking at r_h~2.5 pc and with virtually no clusters more compact than r_h ~ 1 pc. The metal-poor clusters have on average an r_h 24% larger than the metal-rich ones. The cluster scale size shows a gradual and noticeable increase with galactocentric distance. Clusters are very slightly larger in the bluer waveband V a possible hint that we may be beginning to see the effects of mass segregation within the clusters. We also derived a color magnitude diagram for the M87 globular cluster system which show a striking bimodal distribution.

publication date

  • November 1, 2009