IV. Age and mass estimates
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1,
40127 Bologna, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Università di Bologna, Dipartimento di Astronomia, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3 Palomar Observatory, Mail Stop 105-24, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7, Canada
5 UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
6 Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, La Laguna 38200, Canary Islands, Spain
7 Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
8 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA
9 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
10 Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC V9E 2E7, Canada
Accepted: 5 November 2009
Aims. We present the main results of an imaging survey of possible young massive clusters (YMC) in M 31 performed with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), with the aim of estimating their age and their mass. We obtained shallow (to ) photometry of individual stars in 19 clusters (of the 20 targets of the survey). We present the images and color magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of all of our targets.
Methods. Point spread function fitting photometry of individual stars was obtained for all the WFPC2 images of the target clusters, and the completeness of the final samples was estimated using extensive sets of artificial stars experiments. The reddening, age, and metallicity of the clusters were estimated by comparing the observed CMDs and luminosity functions (LFs) with theoretical models. Stellar masses were estimated by comparison with theoretical models in the (Age) vs. absolute integrated magnitude plane, using ages estimated from our CMDs and integrated J, H, K magnitudes from 2MASS-6X.
Results. Nineteen of the twenty surveyed candidates were confirmed to be real star clusters, while one turned out to be a bright star. Three of the clusters were found not to be good YMC candidates from newly available integrated spectroscopy and were in fact found to be old from their CMD. Of the remaining sixteen clusters, fourteen have ages between 25 Myr and 280 Myr, two have older ages than 500 Myr (lower limits). By including ten other YMC with HST photometry from the literature, we assembled a sample of 25 clusters younger than 1 Gyr, with mass ranging from to , with an average of . Our estimates of ages and masses well agree with recent independent studies based on integrated spectra.
Conclusions. The clusters considered here are confirmed to have masses significantly higher than Galactic open clusters (OC) in the same age range. Our analysis indicates that YMCs are relatively common in all the largest star-forming galaxies of the Local Group, while the lack of known YMC older than 20 Myr in the Milky Way may stem from selection effects.
Key words: galaxies: star clusters / galaxies: individual: M 31 / supergiants / stars: evolution
Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program GO-10818 [P.I.: J.G. Cohen].
© ESO, 2010