The discovery of globular clusters in the protospiral galaxy NGC 2915: Implications for hierarchical galaxy evolution

Gerhardt R. Meurer, J. P. Blakeslee, M. Sirianni, H. C. Ford, G. D. Illingworth, N. Benítez, M. Clampin, F. Menanteau, H. D. Tran, R. A. Kimble, G. F. Hartig, D. R. Ardila, F. Bartko, R. J. Bouwens, T. J. Broadhurst, R. A. Brown, C. J. Burrows, E. S. Cheng, N. J.G. Cross, P. D. FeldmanD. A. Golimowski, C. Gronwall, L. Infante, J. E. Krist, M. P. Lesser, A. R. Martel, G. K. Miley, M. Postman, P. Rosati, W. B. Sparks, Z. I. Tsvetanov, R. L. White, W. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We have discovered three globular clusters beyond the Holmberg radius in Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys images of the gas-rich dark matter-dominated blue compact dwarf galaxy NGC 2915. The clusters, all of which start to resolve into stars, have MV606 = -8.9 to -9.8 mag, significantly brighter than the peak of the luminosity function of Milky Way globular clusters. Their colors suggest a metallicity [Fe/H] ≈ -1.9 dex, typical of metal-poor Galactic globular clusters. The specific frequency of clusters is at a minimum normal, compared to spiral galaxies. However, since only a small portion of the system has been surveyed, it is more likely that the luminosity and mass normalized cluster content is higher, like that seen in elliptical galaxies and galaxy clusters. This suggests that NGC 2915 resembles a key phase in the early hierarchical assembly of galaxies - the epoch when much of the old stellar population has formed but little of the stellar disk. Depending on the subsequent interaction history, such systems could go on to build up larger elliptical galaxies, evolve into normal spirals, or in rare circumstances remain suspended in their development to become systems like NGC 2915.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L83-L86
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Dec 20 2003


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: halos
  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 2915)
  • Galaxies: star clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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