A model for GN-z11: top-heavy stellar initial mass functions in forming galactic nuclei and ultra-compact dwarfs

Kenji Bekki, Takuji Tsujimoto

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Recent JWST observations of the z = 10.6 galaxy GN-z11 have revealed a very high gas-phase nitrogen abundance (higher than four times the solar value), a very small half-light radius (≈60 pc), and a large stellar mass (Ms ≈ 109 M) for its size. We consider that this object is a forming galactic nucleus or ultra-compact dwarf galaxy rather than a proto globular cluster, and thereby investigate the chemical abundance pattern using one-zone chemical evolution models. The principal results of the models are as follows. The observed log (N/O) > -0.24, log (C/O) > -0.78, and 12 + log (O/H) ≈ 7.8 can be self-consistently reproduced by the models both with very short star formation time-scales (<107 yr) and with top-heavy stellar initial mass functions. The adopted assumption of no chemical enrichment by massive (m > 25 M) core collapse supernovae (CCSNe) is also important for the reproduction of high gas-phase log (N/O), because such CCSNe can decrease high log (N/O) of gas polluted by OB and Wolf-Rayet stars. GN-z11 can have a significant fraction (>0.5) of nitrogen-rich ([N/Fe] > 0.5) stars, which implies a possible link between nitrogen-rich stellar populations of the inner Galaxy and giant elliptical galaxies and high-z objects with high gas-phase log (N/O) like GN-z11.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L26-L30
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

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