Studying the asymmetry of the globular cluster population of NGC 4261

P. Bonfini*, A. Zezas, M. Birkinshaw, D. M. Worrall, G. Fabbiano, E. O'Sullivan, G. Trinchieri, A. Wolter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present an analysis of the globular cluster (GC) population of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4261 based on Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 data in the B, V and I bands. We study the spatial distribution of the GCs in order to probe the anisotropy in the azimuthal distribution of the discrete X-ray sources in the galaxy revealed by Chandra images. The luminosity function of our GC sample (complete at the 90 per cent level for mV= 23.8 mag) peaks at mV= 25.1 mag, which corresponds to a distance consistent with previous measurements. The colour distribution can be interpreted as being the superposition of a blue and red GC component with average colours V-I= 1.01 mag and 1.27 mag, respectively. This is consistent with a bimodal colour distribution typical of elliptical galaxies. The red GCs radial profile is steeper than that of the galaxy surface brightness, while the profile of the blue subpopulation looks more consistent with it. The most striking finding is the significant asymmetry in the azimuthal distribution of the GC population about a north-eastsouth-west (NESW) direction. The lack of any obvious feature in the morphology of the galaxy suggests that the asymmetry could be the result of an interaction or a merger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2872-2887
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume421
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • globular clusters: general
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • galaxies: individual: NGC 4261
  • galaxies: individual: 3C 270
  • galaxies: interactions
  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • HUBBLE-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • EARLY-TYPE GALAXIES
  • X-RAY BINARIES
  • ELLIPTIC GALAXIES
  • VIRGO CLUSTER
  • LUMINOSITY FUNCTION
  • RADIO GALAXIES
  • FORNAX CLUSTER
  • SHELL GALAXIES
  • ROTATION AXES

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