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Symposium 241

Abstract details

The Stellar Populations of Ultra-compact Dwarf Galaxies
Arna Karick, Michael Gregg, Michael Drinkwater, Marla Geha

We have discovered an intracluster population of ultra-luminous compact stellar systems in the Fornax cluster. Originally coined "ultra-compact dwarf galaxies" (UCDs), these objects were thought to be remnant nuclei of tidally stripped dE,Ns. Subsequent searches in Fornax (2dF+VLT) have revealed many fainter UCDs; making them the most numerous galaxy type in the cluster and fueling controversy over their origin. UCDs may be the bright tail of the globular cluster (GCs) population associated with NGC1399. Alternatively they may be real intracluster GCs, resulting from hierarchical cluster formation and merging in intracluster space. Determining the stellar populations of these enigmatic objects is challenging. UCDs are unresolved from the ground but our HST/STIS+ACS imaging reveals faint halos around the brightest UCDs. Here we present deep u'g'r'i'z' images of the cluster core using the CTIO 4m Mosaic (Karick 2005 PhD). Combined with GALEX/UV imaging and using SSP isochrones, UCDs appear to be old, red and unlike cluster dEs. In contrast, our recent IMACS and Keck/LRIS+ESI spectroscopy shows that UCDs are unlike GCs and have intermediate stellar populations with significant variations in their Mg and Hbeta line strength indices.

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