Deep VLT search for globular clusters in NGC 5128: Color-magnitude diagrams and globular cluster luminosity function*
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Department of Astronomy, P. Universidad Católica, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, Chile
Corresponding author: M. Rejkuba, email@example.com
Accepted: 31 January 2001
At the distance of NGC 5128 ( Mpc) it is possible to resolve globular clusters with high resolution imaging from the ground, thus allowing the globular cluster candidate selection primarily through their morphological properties. I report the discovery of 71 globular clusters in NGC 5128 on VLT UT1+FORS1 images, including the faintest members () known to date in this galaxy as well as in 5 previously-known clusters. U- and V-band photometry has been measured for all the candidates and the luminosity function, spanning and , constructed. These are the deepest globular cluster luminosity functions in an elliptical galaxy determined so far. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistics show that the difference between the globular cluster luminosity functions of NGC 5128 and the MW is not larger than the difference between the ones of M 31 and the MW. The ()0 color histogram shows a bimodal distribution. For 23 globular clusters I obtained K-band images with SOFI at the NTT in La Silla. Their positions in the () vs. () color-color diagram indicate that they are indeed old globular clusters. Assuming that the globular clusters in NGC 5128 span a similar age range as the ones in the Milky Way and adopting a linear fit between the metallicity and ()0 color, the metal-rich clusters peak at dex and the metal-poor ones peak at dex.
Key words: galaxies: star clusters / galaxies: formation / galaxies: individual: NGC 5128
© ESO, 2001