The globular cluster system of NGC 4374

M. Gómez, T. Richtler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We study the globular cluster system (GCS) of the giant elliptical NGC 4374 (M 84) in the Virgo cluster using B and R photometry. The colour distribution is bimodal with peaks at B - R = 1.11 and B - R = 1.36, fitting well to those found in other early-type galaxies. The radial profile of the cluster number density is flatter than the galaxy light. Using the luminosity function we derive a distance modulus of μ = 31.61 ± 0.2, which within the uncertainty agrees with the distance from surface brightness fluctuations. Blue and red clusters show similar radial concentrations and azimuthal distributions. The total number of clusters is N = 1775 ± 150, which together with our distance modulus leads to a specific frequency of SN = 1.6 ± 0.3. This value is surprisingly low for a giant elliptical, but resembles the case of merger remnants like NGC 1316, where the low specific frequency is probably caused by the luminosity contribution of an intermediate-age population. A further common property is the high rate of type Ia supernovae which also may indicate the existence of a younger population. However, unlike in the case of NGC 1316, one cannot find any further evidence that NGC 4374 indeed hosts younger populations. The low specific frequency would also fit to a SO galaxy seen face-on.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • Galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: individual: NGC 4374
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: star clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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