Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 458, 777-788 (2006/11-2)
Medium resolution spectroscopy in ω Centauri: abundances of 400 subgiant and turn-off region stars.
KAYSER A., HILKER M., RICHTLER T. and WILLEMSEN P.G.
Abstract (from CDS):
Medium resolution spectra of more than 400 subgiant and turn-off region stars in ω Centauri were analysed. The observations were performed at the VLT/Paranal with FORS2/MXU. In order to determine the metallicities of the sample stars, we defined a set of line indices (mostly iron) adjusted to the resolution of our spectra. The indices as determined for ωCen were then compared to line indices from stars in the chemically homogeneous globular cluster M55, in addition to standard stars and synthetic spectra. The uncertainties in the derived metallicities are of the order of ±0.2dex. Our study confirms the large variations in iron abundances found on the giant branch in earlier studies (-2.2<[Fe/H]←0.7dex). In addition, we studied the α-element and CN/CH abundances. Stars of different metallicity groups not only show distinct ages (Hilker et al., 2004A&A...422L...9H
), but also different behaviours in their relative abundances. The α abundances increase smoothly with increasing metallicity resulting in a flat [α/Fe] ratio over the whole observed metallicity range. The combined CN+CH abundance increases smoothly with increasing iron abundance. The most metal-rich stars are CN-enriched. In a CN vs. CH plot, though, the individual abundances divide into CN- and CH-rich branches. The large abundance variations observed in our sample of (unevolved) subgiant branch stars most probably have their origin in the pre-enriched material rather than in internal mixing effects. Together with the age spread of the different sub-populations, our findings favour the formation of ω Centauri within a more massive progenitor.
stars: abundances - Galaxy: globular clusters: individual: ω Cen - galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: nuclei
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