We combine spectroscopic and photometric data for subgiant stars of ω Cen to extract results that neither data set could have provided on its own. GIRAFFE@VLT spectra of 80 stars at R=6400 give metallicities for all of them and abundances of C, N, Ca, Ti, and Ba for a subset of them. The photometric data, which have unusually high accuracy, come from a ~10×10 arcmin2 mosaic of HST ACS images centered on the cluster center and on multicolor images of a ~34×33 arcmin2 field, taken with the WFI@ESO2.2m camera. Stars with [Fe/H]<-1.25 have a large magnitude spread on the flat part of the SGB. We interpret this as empirical evidence for an age spread, and from theoretical isochrones we derive a relative age for each star. Within the SGB region we identify four distinct stellar groups: (1) an old, metal-poor group ([Fe/H]~-1.7) (2) an old, metal-rich group ([Fe/H]~-1.1) (3) a young (up to 4-5 Gyr younger than the old component) metal-poor group ([Fe/H]~-1.7) (4) a young, intermediate-metallicity ([Fe/H]~-1.4) group, on average 1-2 Gyr younger than the old metal-poor population, and with an age spread that we cannot properly quantify with the present sample. In addition, many SGB stars are spread between the intermediate-metallicity and metal-rich branches. We tentatively propose connections between the SGB stars and both the multiple main-sequence and the red giant branches. Finally, we discuss the implications of the multiple stellar populations on the formation and evolution of ω Cen. The spread in age within each population establishes that the original system must have had a composite nature. Based on FLAMES+GIRAFFE@VLT observations under the DDT program 272.D-5065(A) and on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

The Multiplicity of the Subgiant Branch of ω Centauri: Evidence for Prolonged Star Formation

VILLANOVA, SANDRO;PIOTTO, GIAMPAOLO;BEDIN, LUIGI;AL MOMANY, YAZAN;BELLINI, ANDREA;
2007

Abstract

We combine spectroscopic and photometric data for subgiant stars of ω Cen to extract results that neither data set could have provided on its own. GIRAFFE@VLT spectra of 80 stars at R=6400 give metallicities for all of them and abundances of C, N, Ca, Ti, and Ba for a subset of them. The photometric data, which have unusually high accuracy, come from a ~10×10 arcmin2 mosaic of HST ACS images centered on the cluster center and on multicolor images of a ~34×33 arcmin2 field, taken with the WFI@ESO2.2m camera. Stars with [Fe/H]<-1.25 have a large magnitude spread on the flat part of the SGB. We interpret this as empirical evidence for an age spread, and from theoretical isochrones we derive a relative age for each star. Within the SGB region we identify four distinct stellar groups: (1) an old, metal-poor group ([Fe/H]~-1.7) (2) an old, metal-rich group ([Fe/H]~-1.1) (3) a young (up to 4-5 Gyr younger than the old component) metal-poor group ([Fe/H]~-1.7) (4) a young, intermediate-metallicity ([Fe/H]~-1.4) group, on average 1-2 Gyr younger than the old metal-poor population, and with an age spread that we cannot properly quantify with the present sample. In addition, many SGB stars are spread between the intermediate-metallicity and metal-rich branches. We tentatively propose connections between the SGB stars and both the multiple main-sequence and the red giant branches. Finally, we discuss the implications of the multiple stellar populations on the formation and evolution of ω Cen. The spread in age within each population establishes that the original system must have had a composite nature. Based on FLAMES+GIRAFFE@VLT observations under the DDT program 272.D-5065(A) and on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2448271
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