The ages of globular clusters in NGC 4365 revisited with deep HST observations

Arunav Kundu, Stephen E. Zepf, Maren Hempel, David Morton, Keith M. Ashman, Thomas J. Maccarone, Markus Kissler-Patig, Thomas H. Puzia, Enrico Vesperini

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We present new Hubble Space Telescope (HST) NIC3, near-infrared H-band photometry of globular clusters (GCs) around NGC 4365 and NGC 1399 in combination with archival HST WFPC2 and ACS optical data. We find that NGC 4365 has a number of globular clusters with bluer optical colors than expected for their red optical-to-near-infrared colors and an old age. The only known way to explain these colors is with a significant population of intermediate-age (2-8 Gyr) clusters in this elliptical galaxy. On the other hand, our result for NGC 1399 is in agreement with previous spectroscopic work that suggests that its clusters have a large metallicity spread and are nearly all old. In the literature, there are various results from spectroscopic studies of modest samples of NGC 4365 globular clusters. The spectroscopic data allow for either the presence or absence of a significant population of intermediate-age clusters, given the index uncertainties indicated by comparing objects in common between these studies and the few spectroscopic candidates with optical-to-near-IR colors indicative of intermediate ages. Our new near-IR data of the NGC 4365 GC system with a much higher signal-to-noise ratio agree well with earlier published photometry, and both give strong evidence of a significant intermediate-age component. The agreement between the photometric and spectroscopic results for NGC 1399 and other systems lends further confidence to this conclusion and to the effectiveness of the near-IR technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L41-L44
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Nov 20 2005


  • Galaxies: general
  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • Globular clusters: general


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