Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.

The young star cluster population of M51 with LEGUS - II. Testing environmental dependences

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It has recently been established that the properties of young star clusters (YSCs) can vary as a function of the galactic environment in which they are found. We use the cluster catalogue produced by the Legacy ExtragalacticUVSurvey (LEGUS) collaboration to investigate cluster properties in the spiral galaxy M51. We analyse the cluster population as a function of galactocentric distance and in arm and inter-arm regions. The cluster mass function exhibits a similar shape at all radial bins, described by a power law with a slope close to -2 and an exponential truncation around 105 M⊙. While the mass functions of the YSCs in the spiral arm and inter-arm regions have similar truncation masses, the inter-arm region mass function has a significantly steeper slope than the one in the arm region, a trend that is also observed in the giant molecular cloud mass function and predicted by simulations. The age distribution of clusters is dependent on the region considered, and is consistent with rapid disruption only in dense regions, while little disruption is observed at large galactocentric distances and in the inter-arm region. The fraction of stars forming in clusters does not show radial variations, despite the drop in the H2 surface density measured as a function of galactocentric distance. We suggest that the higher disruption rate observed in the inner part of the galaxy is likely at the origin of the observed flat cluster formation efficiency radial profile.


23 Mar 2018


Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.