SCYON Abstract

Received on July 23 2001

Evolution of Globular Clusters Formed in Mergers

AuthorsFrançois Schweizer
AffiliationCarnegie Observatories, 813 Santa Barbara St, Pasadena, CA 91101--1292, USA
To appear inthe proceedings of IAU Symposium 207, ``Extragalactic Star Clusters'', Eds. E.K. Grebel, D. Geisler, & D. Minniti


Globular clusters formed in galactic mergers (e.g., The Antennae) can now be studied at different stages of their evolution. In young merger remnants (e.g., NGC 7252) these ``second-generation'' globulars appear by the hundreds as young halo clusters of roughly solar metallicity. While at first bluer and much more luminous than old metal-poor globulars, they become redder after 1 -- 1.5 Gyr and can then be observed as still overluminous red clusters of intermediate age in perturbed-looking E and S0 galaxies (e.g., NGC 1316, 1700, 3610). There is evidence from the color distributions, projected radial distributions, and perhaps also luminosity functions that these clusters eventually assume the properties of red metal-rich globulars observed in many giant ellipticals. Studies of globular clusters in ongoing mergers and young remnants suggest that second-generation globulars form from giant molecular clouds shocked by the rapid pressure increase in the merger-induced starburst. This pressure-induced formation lends credence to Cen's (2001) argument that the general pressure increase during cosmological reionization at z ~ 7 -- 15 triggered the near-simultaneous formation of the universal population of first-generation metal-poor globulars observed in galaxies of all types.