Modeling the chemical evolution of Omega Centauri using three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations

Marcolini, A.
Sollima, A.
D'Ercole, A.
Gibson, B. K
Ferraro, F. R.
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We present a hydrodynamical and chemical model for the globular cluster Omega Cen, under the assumption that it is the remnant of an ancient dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph), the bulk of which was disrupted and accreted by our Galaxy ~10 Gyr ago. We highlight the very different roles played by Type II and Type Ia supernovae (SNe) in the chemical enrichment of the inner regions of the putative parent dSph. While the SNe II pollute the interstellar medium rather uniformly, the SNe Ia ejecta may remain confined inside dense pockets of gas as long as succesive SNe II explosions spread them out. Stars forming in such pockets have lower alpha-to-iron ratios than the stars forming elsewhere. Owing to the inhomogeneous pollution by SNe Ia, the metal distribution of the stars in the central region differs substantially from that of the main population of the dwarf galaxy, and resembles that observed in Omega Cen. This inhomogeneous mixing is also responsible for a radial segregation of iron-rich stars with depleted [alpha/Fe] ratios, as observed in some dSphs. Assuming a star formation history of ~1.5 Gyr, our model succeeds in reproducing both the iron and calcium distributions observed in Omega Cen and the main features observed in the empirical alpha/Fe versus Fe/H plane. Finally, our model reproduces the overall spread of the color-magnitude diagram, but fails in reproducing the morphology of the SGB-a and the double morphology of the main sequence. However, the inhomogeneous pollution reduces (but does not eliminate) the need for a significantly enhanced helium abundance to explain the anomalous position of the blue main sequence. Further models taking into account the dynamical interaction of the parent dwarf galaxy with the Milky Way and the effect of AGB pollution will be required.
Comment: 15 pages, 13 figures. MNRAS accepted