AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 47. Open Clusters, Hot Stars, and Cluster Formation in Tidal Tails
Display, Thursday, January 13, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[47.15] The Mass Function of Young Star Clusters in the ``Antennae'' Galaxies

Q. Zhang (JHU/STScI), S. M. Fall (STScI)

We determine the mass function of young star clusters in the merging galaxies the ``Antennae'' (NGC 4038/39) from deep images taken with the WFPC2 on the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This is accomplished by means of reddening-free parameters and a comparison with stellar population synthesis tracks to estimate the intrinsic luminosity and age and hence the mass of each cluster. We find that the mass function of the young star clusters (with ages \lesssim 160 Myr) is well represented by a power law of the form \psi(M) \propto M-2 over the range 104 \lesssim M \lesssim 106 M\odot. This result may have important implications for our understanding of the origin of globular clusters during the early phases of galactic evolution.

Support for this work was provided by NASA through grant number GO-07468 from STScI.

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