Volume 440, Number 1, September II 2005
|Page(s)||111 - 120|
|Published online||19 August 2005|
Integrated spectral analysis of 18 concentrated star clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud
Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio, CC 67, Suc. 28, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
2 Departamento de Física, ICEx, UFMG, CP 702, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil e-mail: email@example.com
3 Observatorio Astronómico, Laprida 854, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina
4 Depto. de Astronomia, UFRGS, CP 15051, 91500-970 Porto Alegre, Brazil
Accepted: 18 May 2005
We present in this study flux-calibrated integrated spectra in the range (3600–6800) Å for 18 concentrated SMC clusters. Cluster reddening values were estimated by interpolation between the extinction maps of Burstein & Heiles (1982, AJ, 87, 1165) and Schlegel et al. (1998, ApJ, 500, 525). The cluster parameters were derived from the template matching procedure by comparing the line strengths and continuum distribution of the cluster spectra with those of template cluster spectra with known parameters and from the equivalent width (EW) method. In this case, new calibrations were used together with diagnostic diagrams involving the sum of EWs of selected spectral lines. A very good agreement between ages derived from both methods was found. The final cluster ages obtained from the weighted average of values taken from the literature and the present measured ones range from 15 Mr (e.g. L 51) to 7 Gyr (K 3). Metal abundances have been derived for only 5 clusters from the present sample, while metallicity values directly averaged from published values for other 4 clusters have been adopted. Combining the present cluster sample with 19 additional SMC clusters whose ages and metal abundances were put onto a homogeneous scale, we analyse the age and metallicity distributions in order to explore the SMC star formation history and its spatial extent. By considering the distances of the clusters from the SMC centre instead of their projections onto the right ascension and declination axes, the present age-position relation suggests that the SMC inner disk could have been related to a cluster formation episode which reached the peak ~2.5 Gyr ago. Evidence for an age gradient in the inner SMC disk is also presented.
Key words: galaxies: star clusters / techniques: spectroscopic / Magellanic Clouds
© ESO, 2005
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