NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0290

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Proposal Information for 2013B-0290


PI: Anil Seth, University of Utah, aseth@astro.utah.edu
Address: Physics Department, 115 South 1400 East #201, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, USA

CoI: Jay Strader, Michigan State
CoI: Charlie Conroy, UC Santa Cruz
CoI: Nelson Caldwell, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Michele Cappellari, Oxford
CoI: Ricardo Schiavon, John Moores University
CoI: Andrew Stephens, Gemini
CoI: Mark den Brok, University of Utah

Title: Resolving the Most Massive Globular Clusters in the Local Group

Abstract: There is strong evidence that the most massive globular cluster in our galaxy, \omega Centauri, is the tidally stripped nucleus of a dwarf galaxy. However, it remains unclear if \omega Cen is a rare object or if it is typical of the most massive globular clusters. We propose to test the nuclear origin of massive globular clusters by obtaining spatially resolved spectroscopy of four M31 globular clusters, all more massive than \omega Cen, using Gemini/NIFS with LGS AO. These targets include four of the seven most massive globular clusters in the Local Group, the only place where the spatially resolved properties of such clusters can be studied. The data will be used to detect abundance gradients and derive kinematic profiles in the clusters. The observation of large iron abundance gradients would provide strong evidence for a nuclear origin. Furthermore, comparison of these data to existing kinematic maps of nearby galaxy nuclei, Galactic globular clusters, and theoretical predictions will clarify how and where massive globular clusters form.


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