Duncan A. Forbes
Globular clusters and galaxy formation
We first discuss recent progress in using the Milky Way globular cluster (GC) system as a `test-bed’ for properties derived from integrated spectra and stellar population models. Standard techniques may give rise to spuriously high alpha-element ratios at low metallicities. We then discuss evidence for early epoch (z > 2) formation for most GCs in galaxies today. Recent accretions of GCs (and their host galaxy) make a small contribution but recent mergers form few if any new GCs in today’s elliptical galaxies. The early formation of metal-poor GCs and the bimodality seen in GC specific frequency requires a `truncation’ which may be due to reionization.
(Globular Clusters – Guides to Galaxies conference)