Carolin Wittmann (Germany)
wittmann @ ari.uni-heidelberg.de
A search for tidal features around compact stellar systems in the Fornax galaxy cluster
Ultra-compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs) are very compact stellar systems with luminosities and sizes in between globular clusters (GCs) and compact elliptical galaxies. Although their name suggests that they are galaxies, their nature and origin is still under debate. One popular formation scenario proposes that UCDs are the remnant nuclei of nucleated dwarf elliptical galaxies, which have been tidally stripped. Based on deep wide-field imaging data, we search for possible tidal tails and faint extended structures around UCDs in the Fornax cluster center, which would be evidence for their tidal stripping origin. Surprisingly, we do not find tidal debris around any of the UCDs, but many of them appear asymmetric or elongated. We discuss whether these peculiar objects and their spatial distribution are able to discriminate between the different UCD formation scenarios.
Supervisor: Thorsten Lisker (ARI)