AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 105. Mapping the Cosmos: A Variety of Surveys
Oral, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 606-607

[Previous] | [Session 105] | [Next]

[105.02D] A Wide-Field Survey of the Globular Cluster Systems of Distant Spiral and Elliptical Galaxies

K.L. Rhode (Yale University)

Globular clusters (GCs) are valuable probes of the formation history of galaxies. Their ages, metallicities, spatial distributions, and dynamical properties serve as an observable fossil record of the conditions present in a galaxy at the time of their formation. Studying the entire ensemble of GCs around a galaxy provides important clues regarding its early history and subsequent evolution.

We have undertaken a survey of the GC systems of a large sample of elliptical and spiral galaxies, with the goal of testing models for elliptical galaxy formation. The survey combines wide-field, high-resolution ground-based CCD imaging with archival Hubble Space Telescope data to determine the total numbers, spatial distributions and color distributions of GCs around the galaxies. We use photometry in three colors and image analysis to reduce the level of contamination in our lists of GC candidates. As a result, the lists are at least an order of magnitude less contaminated than previous studies. Furthermore, we typically have radial coverage to more than twice the distance of past work. The results test specific predictions of models for the origin of ellipticals (e.g., spiral-spiral mergers, dissipational collapse) and constrain future work in that area. Here I present the results of the analysis to date from what is currently the largest wide-field survey of extragalactic GC systems.

This work was funded by a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program Fellowship.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rhode@astro.yale.edu

[Previous] | [Session 105] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.