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Astron. Astrophys. 353, 887-892 (2000)

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POX 186: the ultracompact blue compact dwarf galaxy reveals its nature *

V. Doublier 1,2, D. Kunth 3, F. Courbin 4,5 and P. Magain 4

1 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19001, Santiago, Chile
2 Observatoire de Marseille and Institut Cassendi, 2 place Le Verrier, 13004 Marseille, France
3 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis Bld Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4 Institut d'Astrophysique, Université de Liège, Avenue de Cointe 5, 4000 Liège, Belgium
5 URA 173 CNRS-DAEC, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cédex, France

Received 30 June 1997 / Accepted 11 February 1999


High resolution, ground based R and I band observations of the ultra compact dwarf galaxy POX 186 are presented. The data, obtained with the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT), are analyzed using a new deconvolution algorithm which allows one to resolve the innermost regions of this stellar-like object into three Super-Star Clusters (SSC). Upper limits to both masses (M[FORMULA] 105 [FORMULA]) and physical sizes ([FORMULA]60pc) of the SSCs are set. In addition, and maybe most importantly, extended light emission underlying the compact star-forming region is clearly detected in both bands. The [FORMULA] color rules out nebular H[FORMULA] contamination and is consistent with an old stellar population. This casts doubt on the hypothesis that Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies (BCDG) are young galaxies.

Key words: galaxies: compact – galaxies: distances and redshifts – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: formation – galaxies: photometry – galaxies: starburst

* based on observations carried out at NTT in La Silla, operated by the European Southern Observatory, during Director's Discretionary Time.

Send offprint requests to: V. Doublier (ESO address)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 18, 2000