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The most recent burst of star formation in the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 1052

Abstract : High spatial resolution near-infrared (NIR) images of the central 24 x 24 arcsec(2) (similar to 2 x 2 kpc(2)) of the elliptical galaxy NGC 1052 reveal a total of 25 compact sources randomly distributed in the region. 15 of them exhibit H alpha luminosities an order of magnitude above the estimate for an evolved population of extreme horizontal branch stars. Their H alpha equivalent widths and optical-to-NIR spectral energy distributions are consistent with them being young stellar clusters aged \textless7 Myr. We consider this to be the first direct observation of spatially resolved star-forming regions in the central kiloparsecs of an elliptical galaxy. The sizes of these regions are less than or similar to 11 pc and their median reddening is E(B - V) similar to 1 mag. According to previous works, NGC 1052 may have experienced a merger event about 1Gyr ago. On the assumption that these clusters are spread with a similar density over the whole galaxy, the fraction of galaxy mass (5 x 10(-5)) and rate of star formation (0.01M(circle dot) yr(-1)) involved suggest the merger event as the possible cause for the star formation we see today.
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Contributor : Catherine Beaussier Connect in order to contact the contributor
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J. A. Fernandez-Ontiveros, C. Lopez-Sanjuan, M. Montes, M. A. Prieto, J. A. Acosta-Pulido. The most recent burst of star formation in the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 1052. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2011, 411 (1), pp.L21--L25. ⟨10.1111/j.1745-3933.2010.00985.x⟩. ⟨hal-01438055⟩



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