Dynamical masses of ultra-compact dwarf galaxies in Fornax*
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany (Founded by merging of the Sternwarte, Radioastronomisches Institut and Institut für Astrophysik und Extraterrestrische Forschung der Universität Bonn.) e-mail: email@example.com
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
3 Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, P. Universidad Católica, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, Chile
4 Department of Physics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
5 Department of Physics, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
6 Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, 413, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
Accepted: 14 November 2006
Aims.We determine masses and mass-to-light ratios of five ultra-compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs) and one dwarf elliptical nucleus in the Fornax cluster from high resolution spectroscopy. We examine whether they are consistent with pure stellar populations or whether dark matter is needed to explain their masses.
Methods.Velocity dispersions were derived from selected wavelength regions using a direct-fitting method. To estimate the masses of the UCDs a new modelling program has been developed that allows a choice of different representations of the surface brightness profile (i.e. Nuker, Sersic or King laws) and corrects the observed velocity dispersions for observational parameters (i.e. seeing, slit size). The derived dynamical masses are compared to those expected from stellar population models.
Results.The observed velocity dispersions range between 22 and 30 km s-1. The resulting masses are between 1.8 and . These, as well as the central and global projected velocity dispersions, were derived from the generalized King model which turned out to give the most stable results. The masses of two UCDs, that are best fitted by a two-component profile, were derived from a combined King+Sersic model. The mass-to-light ratios of the Fornax UCDs range between 3 and 5 . The ratio of the dwarf elliptical nucleus is 2.5. These values are compatible with predictions from stellar population models. Within 1-2 half-mass radii dark matter is not dominating UCDs and the nucleus. An increasing dark matter contribution towards larger radii can not be ruled out with the present data. The ratios of some UCDs suggest they have intermediate age stellar populations.
Conclusions.We show that the mass-to-light ratios of UCDs in Fornax are consistent with those expected for pure stellar populations. Thus UCDs seem to be the result of cluster formation processes within galaxies rather than being compact dark matter dominated substructures themselves. Whether UCDs gained their mass in super-star cluster complexes of mergers or in nuclear star cluster formation processes remains an open question. It appears, however, clear that star clusters more massive than about exhibit a more complex formation history than the less massive “ordinary” globular clusters.
Key words: galaxies: clusters: individual: Fornax cluster / galaxies: star clusters / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
© ESO, 2007