Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Chies-Santos, Ana L.; de Souza, Rafael S.; Caso, Juan P.; Ennis, Ana I.; de Souza, Camila P. E.; Barbosa, Renan S.; Chen, Peng; Javier Cenarro, A.; Ederoclite, Alessandro; Cristóbal-Hornillos, David; Hernández-Monteagudo, Carlos; López-Sanjuan, Carlos; Marín-Franch, Antonio; Moles, Mariano; Varela, Jesús; Vázquez Ramió, Héctor; Dupke, Renato; Sodré, Laerte; Angulo, Raul E.
Globular clusters (GCs) are proxies of the formation assemblies of their host galaxies. However, few studies exist targeting GC systems of spiral galaxies up to several effective radii. Through 12-band Javalambre Photometric Local Universe Survey (J-PLUS) imaging, we study the point sources around the M 81/M 82/NGC 3077 triplet in search of new GC candidates. We develop a tailored classification scheme to search for GC candidates based on their similarity to known GCs via a principal component analysis projection. Our method accounts for missing data and photometric errors. We report 642 new GC candidates in a region of 3.5 deg2 around the triplet, ranked according to their Gaia astrometric proper motions when available. We find tantalizing evidence for an overdensity of GC candidate sources forming a bridge connecting M 81 and M 82. Finally, the spatial distribution of the GC candidates (g - i) colours is consistent with halo/intra-cluster GCs, i.e. it gets bluer as they get further from the closest galaxy in the field. We further employ a regression-tree-based model to estimate the metallicity distribution of the GC candidates based on their J-PLUS bands. The metallicity distribution of the sample candidates is broad and displays a bump towards the metal-rich end. Our list increases the population of GC candidates around the triplet by threefold, stresses the usefulness of multiband surveys in finding these objects, and provides a testbed for further studies analysing their spatial distribution around nearby (spirals) galaxies.