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Astron. Astrophys. 357, 977-980 (2000)

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On the formation and evolution of the globular cluster [FORMULA] Centauri

G. Carraro 1 and C. Lia 2

1 Department of Astronomy, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padua, Italy (carraro@pd.astro.it)
2 SISSA/ISAS, via Beirut 2, 34014 Trieste, Italy (liac@sissa.it)

Received 22 February 2000 / Accepted 14 March 2000


By means of N-body/hydrodynamical simulations we model the evolution of a primordial [FORMULA] density peak which ends up in an object closely resembling the present day globular cluster [FORMULA] Centauri.

We succeed to reproduce the main features of the cluster, namely the structure, kinematics and metallicity distribution.

We suggest that [FORMULA] Centauri might be a cosmological dwarf elliptical, formed at high redshift, evolved in isolation and self-enriched, and eventually fallen inside the potential well of the Milky Way, in agreement with the Searle-Zinn (1978) paradigm for galactic globular cluster formation.

We finally suggest that [FORMULA] Centauri is probably surrounded by an extended Dark Matter (DM) halo, for which no observational evidence is at present available. We expect that signatures, if any, of the DM halo can be found in the kinematics of stars outside about 20 arcmin.

Key words: Galaxy: globular clusters: individual: ! Centauri – methods: N-body simulations

Send offprint requests to: G. Carraro (carraro@pd.astro.it)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: June 5, 2000