34th Meeting of the AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy, May 2003
4 Energetic Dynamics
Oral, Monday, May 5, 2003, 4:15-5:35pm,

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[4.02] A Capture Scenario for Globular Cluster Omega Centauri

T. Tsuchiya (Astronomishes Rechen-Institut, Heidelberg), D. I. Dinescu, V. I. Korchagin (Yale University)

Recent advances in understanding the nature of omega Centauri - the most massive Milky Way globular cluster - have now placed on a firmer ground its accretion origin as opposed to formation within the Milky Way. Unlike the majority of the Milky Way globular clusters, omega Cen is a complex chemical system with an extended star-formation history.

We explore an accretion origin for omega Cen by N-body modeling of the orbital decay and disruption of a Milky-Way dwarf satellite. We find that a capture scenario can produce an omega Cen-like object with the current low energy orbit of the cluster. Our best model is a nucleated dwarf galaxy with a Hernquist density profile that has a mass of 8 x 109 M\odot, and a half-mass radius pf 1.4 kpc.

This work has been supported by NSF grant AST-0098687.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.