The young cluster population of M82 region B

L. J. Smith, N. Bastian, I. S. Konstantopoulos, J. S. Gallagher III, M. Gieles, R. de Grijs, S. S. Larsen, R. W. O'Connell, M. S. Westmoquette

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31 Citations (Scopus)


We present observations obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope of the "fossil" starburst region B in the nearby starburst galaxy M82. By comparing UBVI photometry with models, we derive ages and extinctions for 35 U-band-selected star clusters. We find that the peak epoch of cluster formation occurred ∼150 Myr ago, in contrast to earlier work that found a peak formation age of 1.1 Gyr. The difference is most likely due to our inclusion of U-band data, which are essential for accurate age determinations of young cluster populations. We further show that the previously reported turnover in the cluster luminosity function is probably due to the neglect of the effect of extended sources on the detection limit. The much younger cluster ages we derive clarifies the evolution of the M82 starburst. The M82-B age distribution now overlaps with the ages of the nuclear starburst, the clusters formed on the opposite side of the disk, and the last encounter with M81, some 220 Myr ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L145-L149
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: individual (M82)
  • galaxies: photometry
  • galaxies: star clusters
  • galaxies: starburst


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