The surface brightness fluctuations and globular cluster populations of M87 and its companions
Using the surface brightness fluctuations in HST WFPC-2 images, we determine that M 87, NGC 4486B, and NGC 4478 are all at a distance of ∼ 16 Mpc, while NGC 4476 lies in the background at ∼ 21 Mpc. We also examine the globular clusters of M 87 using archived HST fields. We detect the bimodal color distribution, and find that the amplitude of the red peak relative to the blue peak is greatest near the center. This feature is in good agreement with the merger model of elliptical galaxy formation, where some of the clusters originated in progenitor galaxies while other formed during mergers.
KeywordsColor Distribution Luminosity Function Virgo Cluster Standard Candle Merger Model
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