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M. Hempel (Michigan State University), T.H. Puzia (STScI), A. Kundu, S.E. Zepf (Michigan State University), M. Kissler-Patig (European Southern Observatory)
The formation and evolution of early-type galaxies is still under debate. In order to assign the underlying formation scenario to a given galaxy we need to know the age structure of the stellar content. Globular clusters are widely used to probe the evolutionary history of their host galaxies. Representing simple stellar populations almost perfectly and found in almost every galaxy, globular clusters can also be observed out to large distances. Thus the star formation history in galaxies, differing in their environment, luminosity, velocity dispersion, and other parameters, can be investigated. Given that early-type galaxies seem to form a much more diverse class of objects than previously thought makes such surveys necessary.
We have developed a semi-numerical method to probe the age structure in globular cluster systems, based on combined optical and near-infrared photometry. Hereby the aim is to detect possible age populations, to set some constraints on the relative age and size, and if possible, find correlations between the age structure and the already mentioned galaxy parameters. Here we present the results for early-type galaxies found in clusters/groups as well as for rather isolated galaxies, which so far revealed the coexistence of age-subpopulation in three early-type galaxies.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.