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Context. SH2 has been described as an isolated HII-region, located about 6.5′ south of the nucleus of NGC 1316 (Fornax A), a merger remnant in the the outskirts of the Fornax cluster of galaxies. Aims. We give a first, preliminary description of the stellar content and environment of this remarkable object. Methods. We used photometric data in the Washington system and HST photometry from the Hubble Legacy Archive for a morphological description and preliminary aperture photometry. Low-resolution spectroscopy provides radial velocities of the brightest star cluster in SH2 and a nearby intermediate-age cluster. Results. SH2 is not a normal HII-region, ionized by very young stars. It contains a multitude of star clusters with ages of approximately 108 yr. A ring-like morphology is striking. SH2 seems to be connected to an intermediate-age massive globular cluster with a similar radial velocity, which itself is the main object of a group of fainter clusters. Metallicity estimates from emission lines remain ambiguous. Conclusions. The present data do not yet allow firm conclusions about the nature or origin of SH2. It might be a dwarf galaxy that has experienced a burst of extremely clustered star formation. We may witness how globular clusters are donated to a parent galaxy.


Copyright © 2012 EDP Sciences. Reprinted from Astronomy and Astrophysics, The globular cluster system of NGC 1316 - II. The extraordinary object SH2, 543, L7, (2012). The published version of the article can be found online at: