AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 12. Extra Galactic Star Clusters: From Ancient Globulars to Young Star Clusters
Display, Monday, May 31, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[12.04] Globular Cluster Systems of Spiral Galaxies: First Results for NGC 1055

K.L. Rhode, S.E. Zepf (Yale University)

Through their ages, chemical compositions, and dynamical properties, globular clusters (GC's) serve as unique probes of the early stages of galaxy formation. Galaxy formation scenarios in which merging plays a major role predict different properties for GC systems as a whole than would be expected from single-collapse models. Consequently observations of GC systems can be used to test these predictions. Although significant progress has been made in this area, there remain fundamental uncertainties about the detailed properties of the GC systems of both elliptical and spiral galaxies which need to be resolved.

To address some of these uncertainties, we have undertaken a survey of the GC systems of a sample of spiral galaxies using the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope. Our sample of targets consists mainly of edge-on spirals at distances comparable to that of the Virgo cluster. Our primary goals are to determine the specific frequencies, spatial distributions and color distributions of the GC candidates around these galaxies, with the ultimate aim of providing better constraints for galaxy formation scenarios. We are also using the Mayall 4-meter telescope and Mosaic Imager to study the GC systems in the previously under-explored outer regions of a sample of elliptical galaxies.

Here we present first results from WIYN observations of the GC system of the spiral galaxy NGC 1055. In addition we discuss our techniques for eliminating contaminating foreground and background objects from our samples of cluster candidates.

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