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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 138, 55-70

The central region of the Fornax cluster

III. Dwarf galaxies, globular clusters, and cD halo - are there interrelations?

M. Hilker12 - L. Infante1 - T. Richtler2

Send offprint request: M. Hilker

Correspondence to:

1 - Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, P. Universidad Católica, Casilla 104, Santiago 22, Chile
2 - Sternwarte der Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany

Received February 8; accepted May 4, 1999


In this paper we briefly review the properties of the dwarf galaxy population at the core of the Fornax cluster, as well as the properties of the extraordinary rich globular cluster system and the cD halo around the central galaxy NGC 1399. In turn, the question whether a scenario in which dwarf galaxies have been accreted and dissolved in the cluster center can explain the observed properties is addressed. The possibility of accretion of a certain number of dwarf galaxies, the stripping of their globular clusters and gas, and the formation of new globular clusters from stripped infalling gas are discussed. An increase in the specific frequency of the central globular cluster system is only possible, if the infalling gas from stripped dwarfs formed globulars very efficiently and/or accreted and stripped dwarf galaxies possessed a rich globular cluster system themselves. In conclusion, we argue that although the dwarf galaxy infall is a very attractive scenario to explain a number of properties in the system there are probably other physical mechanisms that also take place.

Key words: galaxies: clusters: individual: Fornax cluster -- galaxies: cD -- galaxies: interaction -- galaxies: star clusters

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