The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Astrophysics and Astronomy | External Galaxies | Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy
We recently found an ultra diffuse galaxy (UDG) with a half-light radius of R e = 2.2 kpc and little or no dark matter. The total mass of NGC1052–DF2 was measured from the radial velocities of bright compact objects that are associated with the galaxy. Here, we analyze these objects using a combination of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging and Keck spectroscopy. Their average size is pc and their average ellipticity is . From a stacked Keck spectrum we derive an age of 9 Gyr and a metallicity of [Fe/H] = −1.35 ± 0.12. Their properties are similar to ωCentauri, the brightest and largest globular cluster in the Milky Way, and our results demonstrate that the luminosity function of metal-poor globular clusters is not universal. The fraction of the total stellar mass that is in the globular cluster system is similar to that in other UDGs, and consistent with "failed galaxy" scenarios, where star formation terminated shortly after the clusters were formed. However, the galaxy is a factor of ~1000 removed from the relation between globular cluster mass and total galaxy mass that has been found for other galaxies, including other UDGs. We infer that a dark matter halo is not a prerequisite for the formation of metal-poor globular cluster-like objects in high-redshift galaxies.
Pieter van Dokkum, Yotam Cohen, Shany Danieli, J. Diederik Kruijssen, Aaron Romanowsky, Allison Merritt, Roberto Abraham, Jean Brodie, Charlie Conroy, Deborah Lokhorst, Lamiya Mowla, Ewan O'Sullivan, and Jielai Zhang. "An Enigmatic Population of Luminous Globular Clusters in a Galaxy Lacking Dark Matter" The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2018). https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aab60b