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C.Z. Waters, S.E. Zepf (Michigan State University)
The dynamical evolution of globular clusters has been explored extensively by theoretical studies, which find that globular clusters should continually lose mass, and eventually dissolve completely. As this mass loss disrupts the lowest mass clusters faster, these clusters constrain the exact for of the evolution. However, these clusters are difficult to observe in other galaxies, and the Milky Way has too few clusters to give statistically strong results. Here we present results from new, very deep HST images of M87 that help solve these problems. M87 has a rich globular cluster system, and the increased depth has allowed the faint low mass clusters to be clearly measured. We have used this data to construct a mass function which we use to investigate three forms for the cluster evolution. We also compare the observed cluster luminosity function to other deep luminosity functions that have been previously published.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.