Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Using the Keck Cosmic Web Imager, we obtain spectra of several globular clusters (GCs), ultracompact dwarfs (UCDs), and the inner halo starlight of M87, at a similar projected galactocentric radius of ∼5 kpc. This enables us, for the first time, to apply the same stellar population analysis to the GCs, UCDs, and starlight consistently to derive ages, metallicities, and alpha-element abundances in M87. We find evidence for a dual stellar population in the M87 halo light, i.e. an ∼80 per cent component by mass that is old and metal-rich and a ∼20 per cent component that is old but metal-poor. Two red GCs share similar stellar populations to the halo light suggesting they may have formed contemporaneously with the dominant halo component. Three UCDs, and one blue GC, have similar stellar populations, with younger mean ages, lower metallicities, and near solar alpha-element abundances. Combined with literature data, our findings are consistent with the scenario that UCDs are the remnant nucleus of a stripped galaxy. We further investigate the discrepancy in the literature for M87's kinematics at large radii, favouring a declining velocity dispersion profile. This work has highlighted the need for more self-consistent studies of galaxy haloes.
galaxies: haloes, galaxies: individual: (M87)
Physics and Astronomy
Duncan A. Forbes, Anna Ferre-Mateu, Mark Durre, Jean P. Brodie, and Aaron J. Romanowsky. "Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI) spectra of globular clusters and ultracompact dwarfs in the halo of M87" Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2020): 765-775. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa1924