We present new metallicity estimates for globular cluster (GC) candidates in the Sd spiral NGC 300, one of the nearest spiral galaxies outside the Local Group. We have obtained optical spectroscopy for 44 Sculptor Group GC candidates with the Boller and Chivens (B&C) spectrograph on the Baade Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory. There are two GCs in NGC 253 and 12 objects in NGC 300 with globular-cluster-like spectral features, nine of which have radial velocities above 0kms-1. The remaining three, due to their radial velocities being below the expected 95% confidence limit for velocities of NGC 300 halo objects, are flagged as possible foreground stars. The non-cluster-like candidates included 13 stars, 15 galaxies, and an H II region. One GC, four galaxies, two stars, and the H II region from our sample were identified in archival Hubble Space Telescope images. For the GCs, we measure spectral indices and estimate metallicities using an empirical calibration based on Milky Way GCs. The GCs of NGC 300 appear similar to those of the Milky Way. Excluding possible stars and including clusters from the literature, the GC system (GCS) has a velocity dispersion of 68kms-1 and has no clear evidence of rotation. The mean metallicity for our full cluster sample plus one literature object is [Fe/H] = -0.94, lying above the relationship between mean GC metallicity and overall galaxy luminosity. Excluding the three low-velocity candidates, we obtain a mean [Fe/H] = -0.98, still higher than expected, raising the possibility of significant foreground star contamination even in this sample. Visual confirmation of genuine GCs using high-resolution space-based imagery could greatly reduce the potential problem of interlopers in small samples of GCSs in low-radial-velocity galaxies.
- Galaxies: individual (NGC 300)
- Galaxies: spiral
- Galaxies: star clusters: general
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science