The globular cluster system in M87: a wide-field study with CFHT/Megacam.
Abstract (from CDS):
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Megacam data in (g', r', i') are used to obtain deep, wide-field photometry of the globular cluster system (GCS) around M87. A total of 6200 GCs brighter than i' = 23.0 (roughly equivalent to MI= -8.5) are included in the study, essentially containing almost the entire bright half of the total GC population in the galaxy. The classic bimodal metal-poor and metal-rich sequences of GCs show up clearly. While the spatial distribution of the GCs can be traced detectably outward to R gc≃ 100 kpc and perhaps further, the blue, metal-poor subpopulation is very much more spatially extended than the red subpopulation. Both the red and blue GC subsystems have radial metallicity gradients, where mean heavy-element abundance scales with a projected galactocentric distance as Z ∼ R –0.12 (blue) and R –0.17 (red). The blue sequence exhibits a strongly significant mass/metallicity relation (MMR) in which the mean metallicity gradually increases with cluster luminosity as Z ∼ L 0.25±0.05 for the luminosity range MI ≲ -10 and the assumption of a constant M/L. However, this relation is also clearly nonlinear: fainter than this level, the sequence is more nearly vertical. This mass/metallicity trend can be understood as the result of self-enrichment within the most massive metal-poor GCs during their formation. The red sequence formally exhibits a negatively sloped MMR, but the numerical solutions and tests show that this red-GC slope is not very significant. In giant elliptical galaxies, the red GCs are likely to represent a broad composite population formed during several major starbursts. If so, the red sequence might display a population-based MMR that could in principle be either positive or negative.
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD