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Abstract

Abstract

Globular cluster (GC) systems have now been studied in galaxies ranging from dwarfs to giants and spanning the full Hubble sequence of morphological types. Imaging and spectroscopy with the and large ground-based telescopes have together established that most galaxies have bimodal color distributions that reflect two subpopulations of old GCs: metal-poor and metal-rich. The characteristics of both subpopulations are correlated with those of their parent galaxies. We argue that metal-poor GCs formed in low-mass dark matter halos in the early universe and that their properties reflect biased galaxy assembly. The metal-rich GCs were born in the subsequent dissipational buildup of their parent galaxies and their ages and abundances indicate that most massive early-type galaxies formed the bulk of their stars at early times. Detailed studies of both subpopulations offer some of the strongest constraints on hierarchical galaxy formation that can be obtained in the near-field.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.astro.44.051905.092441
2006-09-22
2024-06-20
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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