The ACS Virgo cluster survey. XVII. The spatial alignment of globular cluster systems with early-type host galaxies

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/769/2/145
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal
ISSN0004-637X
Volume769
Issue2
Article number145
AbstractWe study the azimuthal distribution of globular clusters (GCs) in early-type galaxies and compare them to their host galaxies using data from the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey. We find that in host galaxies with visible elongation (ε > 0.2) and intermediate to high luminosities (Mz < -19), the GCs are preferentially aligned along the major axis of the stellar light. The red (metal-rich) GC subpopulations show strong alignment with the major axis of the host galaxy, which supports the notion that these GCs are associated with metal-rich field stars. The metal-rich GCs in lenticular galaxies show signs of being more strongly associated with disks rather than bulges. Surprisingly, we also find that the blue (metal-poor) GCs can also show the same correlation. If the metal-poor GCs are part of the early formation of the halo and built up through mergers, then our results support a picture where halo formation and merging occur anisotropically, and that the present-day major axis is an indicator of the preferred merging axis. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269794
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Record identifieref2f4315-1543-42af-9199-908f910ec0fe
Record created2013-12-13
Record modified2016-07-18
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