Since first noticed by Shapley in 1939, a faint object coincident with the Fornax dwarf spheroidal has long been discussed as a possible sixth globular cluster (GC) system. However, debate has continued over whether this overdensity is a statistical artifact or a blended galaxy group. In this Letter we demonstrate, using deep DECam imaging data, that this object is well resolved into stars and is a bona fide star cluster. The stellar overdensity of this cluster is statistically significant at the level of ∼6-6.7σ in several different photometric catalogs including Gaia. Therefore, it is highly unlikely to be caused by random fluctuation. We show that Fornax 6 is a star cluster with a peculiarly low surface brightness and irregular shape, which may indicate a strong tidal influence from its host galaxy. The Hess diagram of Fornax 6 is largely consistent with that of Fornax field stars, but it appears to be slightly bluer. However, it is still likely more metal-rich than most of the GCs in the system. Faint clusters like Fornax 6 that orbit and potentially get disrupted in the centers of dwarf galaxies can prove crucial for constraining the dark matter distribution in Milky Way satellites.
- galaxies: star clusters: general
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science