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Astron. Astrophys. 326, 528-536

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Blue stars in the center of the S0 galaxy NGC 5102*

J.-M. Deharveng1, R. Jedrzejewski2, P. Crane3, M.J. Disney4, and B. Rocca-Volmerange5

1Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale du CNRS, Traverse du Siphon, BP 8, F-13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France
2Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
3European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, D-8046 Garching, Germany
4Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wales College of Cardiff, P.O. Box 913, Cardiff CF2 3YB, UK
5Institut d'Astrophysique, 98bis Boulevard Arago, F-75014 Paris, France

Received 7 March 1997 / Accepted 22 April 1997


The S0 galaxy NGC 5102 has been observed with the Faint Object Camera on-board the Hubble Space Telescope. Individual blue stars have been resolved in the central region and measured photometrically through the F175W and F342w filters. The limits of detection and completeness are not uniform over the field observed because the unresolved galaxy light increases toward the center. Comparison of integrated light with previous IUE observations and study of the light profiles determined from the FOC images confirm the blue color gradient inward. The F175w-F342w color is found to get bluer from 14 (21 pc) to 04 (6 pc) but the gradient does not continue in the nucleus. There is no evidence for a central core. The resolved blue stars are slightly more concentrated toward the center than the integrated light distribution. In the m175 vs. m FORMULA m342 plane the stars are at positions where either young stars or P-AGB stars may be expected. Although neither interpretation is certain, several arguments suggest that the majority of the resolved stars are young and belong to the last generation of a star formation episode that ended ~ 15 Myr ago. According to spectral evolution models, the IUE ultraviolet spectrum is best reproduced if this star formation episode started 500-800 Myr ago.

Key words: galaxies: evolution - galaxies: individual: NGC 5102 - galaxies: elliptical and lenticular - galaxies: stellar content - ultraviolet: galaxies

*Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

Send offprint requests to: J.-M. Deharveng

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: September 18, 1997
Last change: October 15, 1997