We present deep HST observations of massive blue star clusters in NGC 1275 and NGC 3597. These observations reach 2.5 magnitudes fainter than the predicted turnover in the luminosity function if these objects have similar mass functions to Galactic globular clusters. We present luminosity functions for the blue clusters and for the old cluster population and calculate specific frequencies for both populations. We critically examine specific frequency estimates in light of uncertainties in cluster destruction rates, stellar evolution models, and spatial distributions of the clusters. These two galaxies provide probes of cluster formation in two different environments. NGC 1275 is the central galaxy of the Perseus Cluster and is thought to have undergone a recent merger. NGC 3597 is an isolated spiral-spiral merger remnant. These observations shed some light on the question of whether a merger can increase the specific frequency of globular clusters in a galaxy.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1997