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For refcode 1993MNRAS.264..611Z:
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Copyright by Royal Astronomical Society. 1993MNRAS.264..611Z Globular cluster systems formed in galaxy mergers Stephen E. Zepf and Keith M. Ashman Physics Department, University of Durham, South Road Durham DH1 3LE CITA, University of Toronto, 60 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada Accepted 1993 March 29. Received 1993 February 27; in original form 1992 December 7 ABSTRACT We show that current observations support the hypothesis that globular clusters form in galaxy mergers. In a previous paper, we presented a model in which globular cluster formation is a result of interactions and mergers of galaxies. Here, this model is compared with new observations of the globular cluster systems of recent galaxy mergers and normal elliptical galaxies. We find that our model is consistent with the number and luminosity of young globular clusters in currently merging galaxies. If elliptical galaxies form through mergers of spiral galaxies, the model also predicts that the globular cluster systems of normal elliptical galaxies should have at least two peaks in the metallicity distribution. We show that observations of the globular cluster systems of nearby elliptical galaxies support this prediction. More generally, the presence of more than one peak in the globular cluster metallicity distribution strongly argues against a single formation epoch for globular clusters in elliptical galaxies. Instead, these observations favour formation models in which globular clusters form in two or more bursts, as is the case in our merging model. Key words: globular clusters: general - galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD - galaxies: formation - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: star clusters.
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