The SLUGGS Survey: Kinematics for over 2500 globular clusters in 12 early-type galaxies

Vincenzo Pota*, Duncan A. Forbes, Aaron J. Romanowsky, Jean P. Brodie, Lee R. Spitler, Jay Strader, Caroline Foster, Jacob A. Arnold, Andrew Benson, Christina Blom, Jonathan R. Hargis, Katherine L. Rhode, Christopher Usher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


We present a spectrophotometric survey of 2522 extragalactic globular clusters (GCs) around 12 early-type galaxies, nine of which have not been published previously. Combining spacebased and multicolour wide-field ground-based imaging, with spectra from the Keck/DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS) instrument, we obtain an average of 160 GC radial velocities per galaxy, with a high-velocity precision of ~15 km s-1 per GC. After studying the photometric properties of the GC systems, such as their spatial and colour distributions, we focus on the kinematics of metal-poor (blue) and metal-rich (red) GC subpopulations to an average distance of ~8 effective radii from the galaxy centre. Our results show that for some systems the bimodality in GC colour is also present in GC kinematics. The kinematics of the red GC subpopulations are strongly coupled with the host galaxy stellar kinematics. The blue GC subpopulations are more dominated by random motions, especially in the outer regions, and decoupled from the red GCs. Peculiar GC kinematic profiles are seen in some galaxies: the blue GCs in NGC 821 rotate along the galaxy minor axis, whereas the GC system of the lenticulargalaxy NGC 7457 appears to be strongly rotation supported in the outer region. We supplement our galaxy sample with data from the literature and carry out a number of tests to study the kinematic differences between the two GC subpopulations. We confirm that the GC kinematics are coupled with the hostgalaxy properties and find that the velocity kurtosis and the slope of their velocity dispersion profiles are different between the two GC subpopulations in more massive galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-420
Number of pages32
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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