The globular cluster system of NGC 6822

J. Veljanoski, A. M. N. Ferguson, A. D. Mackey, A. P. Huxor, J. R. Hurley, E. J. Bernard, P. Côté, M. J. Irwin, N. F. Martin, W. S. Burgett, K. C. Chambers, H. Flewelling, R. Kudritzki, C. Waters

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Abstract

We present a comprehensive analysis of the globular cluster (GC) system of the Local Group dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 6822. Our study is based on homogeneous optical and near-IR photometry, as well as long-slit spectroscopic observations which are used to determine new radial velocities for six GCs, two of which had no previous spectroscopic information. We construct optical-near-IR colour-colour diagrams and through comparison to simple stellar population models infer that the GCs have old ages consistent with being 9 Gyr or older, while their metallicities are in the range between -1.6 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ -0.4. We conduct a kinematic analysis of the GC population and find tentative evidence for weak net rotation of the GC system, in the same sense as that exhibited by the underlying spheroid. The most likely amplitude of rotation is ≈10 km s-1, approximately half the magnitude of the observed velocity dispersion. Finally, we use the GCs to estimate the dynamical mass of NGC 6822 within ˜11 kpc and we formally find it to be in the range between (3 and 4) × 109 M⊙. This implies an overall mass-to-light ratio in the range of ˜30-40 and indicates that NGC 6822 is highly dark-matter-dominated. The mass and the corresponding mass-to-light ratio estimates are affected by various additional systematic effects due to limitations of the data and the model that are not necessary reflected in the formal uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-332
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume452
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2015

Keywords

  • globular clusters: general
  • galaxies: individual: NGC 6822
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Local Group

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