The observational properties of globular cluster systems (GCSs) are vital tools to investigate the violent star formation histories of their host galaxies. This violence is thought to have been triggered by galaxy interactions or mergers. The most basic properties of a GCS are its luminosity function (number of clusters per luminosity bin) and color distributions. A large number of observed GCSs show bimodal color distributions, which can be translated into a bimodality in either metallicity and/or age. An additional uncertainty comes into play when one considers extinction. These effects can be disentangled either by obtaining spectroscopic data for the clusters or by imaging observations in at least four passbands. This allows us then to discriminate between various formation scenarios of GCSs, e.g. the merger scenario by Ashman and Zepf, and the multi-phase collapse model by Forbes et al. Young and metal-rich star cluster populations are seen to formin interacting and merging galaxies. We analyse multiwavelength broad-band observations of these young cluster systems provided by the ASTROVIRTEL project.
- galaxies: evolution
- galaxies: star clusters
- globular clusters: general
- open clusters and associations: general