Volume 452, Number 1, June II 2006
|Page(s)||141 - 153|
|Published online||17 May 2006|
The old globular cluster system of the dIrr galaxy NGC 1427A in the Fornax cluster
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
3 Department of Astronomy, The Ohio State University, 140 West 18th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
4 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
5 Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, Chile
Accepted: 3 February 2006
We present a study of the old globular cluster (GC) population of the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 1427A using multi-wavelength VLT observations in , Hα and J bands under excellent observing conditions. We applied color and size selection criteria to select old GC candidates and made use of archival ACS images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope to reject contaminating background sources and blended objects from the GC candidates' list. The Hα observations were used to check for contamination due to compact, highly reddened young star clusters whose colors and sizes could mimic those of old GCs. After accounting for contamination we obtain a total number of GC candidates with colors consistent with an old (~10 Gyr) and metal-poor () population as judged by simple stellar population models. Our contamination analysis indicates that the density distribution of GCs in the outskirts of the Fornax central cD galaxy NGC 1399 may not be spherically symmetric. We derive a present-day specific frequency SN of 1.6 for NGC 1427A, a value significantly larger than what is observed in the Local Group dwarf irregular galaxies and comparable with the values found for the same galaxy types in the Virgo and Fornax clusters. Assuming a universal globular cluster luminosity function turnover magnitude, we derive a distance modulus to NGC 1427A of mag which places it Mpc in front of the Fornax central cD galaxy NGC 1399. The implications of this result for the relationship between NGC 1427A and the cluster environment are briefly discussed.
Key words: galaxies: individual: NGC 1427A / galaxies: irregular / galaxies: star clusters / galaxies: dwarf
© ESO, 2006
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