Volume 576, April 2015
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||13 March 2015|
VEGAS-SSS. A VST early-type galaxy survey: analysis of small stellar systems
Testing the methodology on the globular cluster system in NGC 3115⋆
1 INAF Osservatorio Astr. di Teramo, via Maggini, 64100 Teramo, Italy
2 Dip. di Fisica, Universitá di Napoli Federico II, C.U. di Monte Sant’Angelo, via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy
3 INAF Osservatorio Astr. di Capodimonte Napoli, Salita Moiariello, 80131 Napoli, Italy
4 Agenzia Spaziale Italiana – Science Data Center, via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Roma, Italy
5 University of California Observatories, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
6 Department of Physics and Astronomy, San José State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192, USA
7 Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University, VIC 3122 Hawthorn, Australia
8 Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, 7820436 Santiago, Chile
9 National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC V9E 2E7, Canada
Received: 16 October 2014
Accepted: 20 November 2014
We present a study of globular clusters (GCs) and other small stellar systems (SSSs) in the field of NGC 3115, observed as part of the ongoing wide-field imaging survey VEGAS, carried out with the 2.6 m VST telescope. We used deep g and i observations of NGC 3115, a well-studied lenticular galaxy that is covered excellently well in the scientific literature. This is fundamental to test the methodologies, verify the results, and probe the capabilities of the VEGAS-SSS. Leveraging the large field of view of the VST allowed us to accurately study the distribution and properties of SSSs as a function of galactocentric distance, well beyond ~20 galaxy effective radii, in a way that is rarely possible. Our analysis of colors, magnitudes, and sizes of SSS candidates confirms the results from existing studies, some of which were carried out with 8–10 m class telescopes, and further extends them to previously unreached galactocentric distances with similar accuracy. In particular, we find a color bimodality for the GC population and a de Vaucouleurs r1/4 profile for the surface density of GCs similar to the galaxy light profile. The radial color gradient of blue and red GCs previously found, for instance, by the SLUGGS survey with Subaru and Keck data, is further extended out to the largest galactocentric radii inspected, ~65 kpc. In addition, the surface density profiles of blue and red GCs taken separately are well approximated by a r1/4 density profile, with the fraction of blue GCs being slightly larger at larger radii. We do not find hints of a trend for the red GC subpopulation and for the GC turnover magnitude to vary with radius, but we observe a ~0.2 mag difference in the turnover magnitude of the blue and red GC subpopulations. Finally, from inspecting SSS sizes and colors, we obtain a list of ultracompact dwarf galaxies and GC candidates suitable for future spectroscopic follow-up. In conclusion, our study shows i) the reliability of the methodologies developed to study SSSs in the field of bright early-type galaxies; and ii) the great potential of the VEGAS survey to produce original results on SSSs science, mainly thanks to the wide-field imaging adopted.
Key words: galaxies: stellar content / galaxies: statistics / galaxies: individual: NGC 3115 / galaxies: star clusters: general / surveys / catalogs
Full Table 3 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (22.214.171.124) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/576/A14
© ESO, 2015
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