3. Old star clusters in “young” dwarf galaxies.


ESA supervisor: Katja Fahrion
Collaborator(s): Guido de Marchi


Globular clusters are among the oldest stellar systems in the Universe and are commonly found in all types of galaxies, from low-mass dwarf galaxies to massive galaxies. Extragalactic globular clusters are detected in high resolution imaging as compact sources. Due to their smooth stellar distribution, mostly elliptical galaxies are targeted to detect globular clusters. In contrast, the globular cluster systems of star forming galaxies that have a more complex morphology with spiral arms, star formation regions and young star clusters are much less explored. 

In this project, wewill use Hubble Space Telescope photometry of a sample of irregular, star-forming dwarf galaxies to detect globular cluster candidates and measure their sizes, magnitudes, masses, and colours. To confirm their nature as old star clusters, MUSE integral-field spectroscopy will be used to fully analyse and characterize the old globular clusters in these galaxies. By fitting the spectra, ages and metallicities will be obtained. This will give a unique view into the early formation of such dwarf galaxies that are currently undergoing star formation.

Project duration: 6 months.

Desirable expertise or programming language:

  • Familiarity with python.
  • Experience with (integral-field) spectroscopy and or photometry would be an advantage.
  • We will be using established tools for photometry (imfit) and spectroscopy (ppxf), so experience with those would be an asset.


To apply for this project please fill in an online application form through the following link.