Volume 489, Number 3, October III 2008
|Page(s)||1091 - 1105|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||09 July 2008|
Young star clusters in interacting galaxies – NGC 1487 and NGC 4038/4039*
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Denis Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France e-mail: email@example.com
3 University of Oxford, Dept. of Astrophysics, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, GB-Oxford OX1 3RH, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy/Universities Space Research Association, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA e-mail: email@example.com
5 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA e-mail: Rupali.Chandar@utoledo.edu
Accepted: 9 May 2008
We estimate the dynamical masses of several young (≈10 Myr) massive star clusters in two interacting galaxies, NGC 4038/4039 (“The Antennae”) and NGC 1487, under the assumption of virial equilibrium. These are compared with photometric mass estimates from K-band photometry assuming a standard Kroupa IMF. The clusters were selected to have near-infrared colours dominated by red supergiants, hence old enough to have survived the earliest phases of cluster evolution when the interstellar medium is rapidly swept out from the cluster, supported by there being no obvious Hα emission associated with the clusters. All but one of the Antennae clusters have dynamical and photometric mass estimates that are within a factor ≈2 of one another, implying both that standard IMFs provide a good approximation to the IMF of these clusters and that there is no significant extra-virial motion, as would be expected if they were rapidly dispersing. These results suggest that almost all of the Antennae clusters in our sample have survived the gas removal phase as bound or marginally bound objects. Two of the three NGC 1487 clusters studied here have Mdyn estimates that are significantly greater than the photometric mass estimates. At least one of these two clusters, and one in the Antennae, may be actively in the process of dissolving. The process of dissolution contributes a component of non-virial motion to the integrated velocity measurements, resulting in an estimated Mdyn that is too high relative to the amount of measured stellar light. The dissolution candidates in both galaxies are amongst the clusters with the lowest pressures/densities measured in our sample.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: star clusters
© ESO, 2008
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