SCYON Abstract

Received on January 14 2002

An HST Census of Nuclear Star Clusters in Late-Type Spiral Galaxies:
I. Observations and Image Analysis

AuthorsTorsten Boeker, Roeland P. van der Marel, S. Laine, Marc Sarzi, Hans-Walter Rix, Luis C. Ho, Joseph C. Shields
MPIA Heidelberg
Ohio University
Accepted byAstronomical Journal


We present new HST I-band images of a sample of 77 nearby, late-type spiral galaxies with low inclination. The main purpose of this catalog is to study the frequency and properties of nuclear star clusters. In 59 galaxies of our sample, we have identified a distinct, compact (but resolved), and dominant source at or very close to their photocenter. In many cases, these clusters are the only prominent source within a few kpc from the galaxy nucleus. We present surface brightness profiles, derived from elliptical isophote fits, of all galaxies for which the fit was successful. We use the fitted isophotes at radii larger than 2" to check whether the location of the cluster coincides with the photocenter of the galaxy, and confirm that in nearly all cases, we are truly dealing with ``nuclear'' star clusters. From analytical fits to the surface brightness profiles, we derive the cluster luminosities after subtraction of the light contribution from the underlying galaxy disk and/or bulge.