Connections between star cluster populations and their host galaxy nuclear rings

Chao Ma, Richard De Grijs, Luis C. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nuclear rings are excellent laboratories for probing diverse phenomena such as the formation and evolution of young massive star clusters and nuclear starbursts, as well as the secular evolution and dynamics of their host galaxies. We have compiled a sample of 17 galaxies with nuclear rings, which are well resolved by high-resolution Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope imaging. For each nuclear ring, we identified the ring star cluster population, along with their physical properties (ages, masses, and extinction values). We also determined the integrated ring properties, including the average age, total stellar mass, and current star formation rate (SFR). We find that Sb-type galaxies tend to have the highest ring stellar mass fraction with respect to the host galaxy, and this parameter is correlated with the ring's SFR surface density. The ring SFRs are correlated with their stellar masses, which is reminiscent of the main sequence of star-forming galaxies. There are striking correlations between star-forming properties (i.e., SFR and SFR surface density) and nonaxisymmetric bar parameters, appearing to confirm previous inferences that strongly barred galaxies tend to have lower ring SFRs, although the ring star formation histories turn out to be significantly more complicated. Nuclear rings with higher stellar masses tend to be associated with lower cluster mass fractions, but there is no such relation for the ages of the rings. The two youngest nuclear rings in our sample, NGC 1512 and NGC 4314, which have the most extreme physical properties, represent the young extremity of the nuclear ring age distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 1512)
  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • galaxies: star formation
  • globular clusters: general

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