Near-infrared adaptive optics imaging of infrared luminous galaxies

the brightest cluster magnitude-star formation rate relation

Z. Randriamanakoto, A. Escala, P. Väisänen, E. Kankare, J. Kotilainen, S. Mattila, S. Ryder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


We have established a relation between the brightest super star cluster (SSC) magnitude in a galaxy and the host star formation rate (SFR) for the first time in the near-infrared (NIR). The data come from a statistical sample of ∼40 luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs) and starbursts utilizing K-band adaptive optics imaging. While expanding the observed relation to longer wavelengths, less affected by extinction effects, it also pushes to higher SFRs. The relation we find, MK ∼ -2.6log SFR, is similar to that derived previously in the optical and at lower SFRs. It does not, however, fit the optical relation with a single optical to NIR color conversion, suggesting systematic extinction and/or age effects. While the relation is broadly consistent with a size-of-sample explanation, we argue physical reasons for the relation are likely as well. In particular, the scatter in the relation is smaller than expected from pure random sampling strongly suggesting physical constraints. We also derive a quantifiable relation tying together cluster-internal effects and host SFR properties to possibly explain the observed brightest SSC magnitude versus SFR dependency.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL38
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • galaxies: star formation
  • infrared: galaxies

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