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For refcode 1993AJ....105.1358S:
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1993AJ....105.1358S A MAXIMUM-LIKELIHOOD ANALYSIS OF GLOBULAR CLUSTER LUMINOSITY DISTRIBUTIONS IN THE VIRGO ELLIPTICALS JEFF SECKER AND WILLIAM E. HARRIS Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4Ml Received 1992 October 29; revised 1992 December 11 ABSTRACT We have formulated a model to represent globular cluster luminosity functions (GCLFs) in distant galaxies by means of maximum-likelihood statistics. This model simultaneously accounts for the presence of a contaminating background population, incompleteness at faint magnitudes, and photometric measurement error. We apply this model to observational data sets for the three Virgo giant elliptical galaxies NGC 4365,4472, and 4649, to derive accurate new values for the GCLF peak and dispersion. With a Virgo core distance modulus of (m -M)_V_= 30.95+/-0.25, we obtain GCLF turnover luminosities for the three gEs as follows: M^0^_V_ = -7.12+/-0.36 and {sigma}_t_ = 1.52+/-0.13 (NGC 4365), M^0^_V_ = -7.03+/-0.27 and {sigma}_t_ = 1.30+/-0.07 (NGC 4472), and M^0^_V_ = -7.18+/-0.27 and {sigma}_t_ = 1.15+/-0.07 (NGC 4649). Accordingly, the unweighted average of these GCLF parameter estimates are <M^0^_V_> = - 7.11+/-0.3 and <{sigma}_t_> = 1.32+/-0.09. Comparing with similar maximum-likelihood parameter estimates for M 31 and the Milky Way, we obtain mean differences {DELTA}M^0^_V_ = -0.31+/-0.33 mag and {DELTA}{sigma}_t_ = -0.36+/-0.13 mag, in the sense that the GCLFs in the giant ellipticals are slightly less luminous at the turnover but with significantly large functional dispersion.
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