Star cluster formation and evolution in the dwarf starburst galaxy NGC 1569

P. Anders*, R. De Grijs, U. Fritze-v. Alvensleben, N. Bissantz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


We analyse mulliwavelength Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of a large number of star clusters in the nearby (post-)starburst dwarf galaxy NGC 1569. Their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) cover at least the wavelength range from U to I in equivalent HST filters, in most cases supplemented by near-infrared data. Using our most up-to-date evolutionary synthesis models of the Göttingen GALEV code we determine ages, metallicities, extinction values and masses for each individual cluster robustly and independently. We confirm the youth of most of these objects. The majority were formed in a very intense starburst starting around 25 Myr ago. While there are two prominent 'super star clusters' present in this galaxy, with masses of (5-16) × 10 5 M⊙, almost all remaining clusters are significantly less massive than an average Milky Way globular cluster, and are generally consistent with open cluster-type objects. We determine the cluster mass function from individual cluster masses derived by scaling the model SEDs of known mass to the observed cluster SEDs for each individual cluster. We find signs of a change in the cluster mass function as the burst proceeds, which we attribute to the special conditions of star cluster formation in this starburst dwarf galaxy environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: individual: NGC 1569
  • galaxies: star clusters
  • galaxies: starburst
  • H II regions

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