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Stellar yields and chemical evolution - I: abundance ratios and delayed mixing in the solar neighbourhood

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We analyse two recent computations of Type II supernova nucleosynthesis by Woosley & Weaver (hereafter WW95) and Thielemann, Nomoto & Hashimoto (hereafter TNH96), focusing on the ability to reproduce the observed [Mg/Fe] ratios in various galaxy types. We show that the yields of oxygen and total metallicity are in good agreement. However, TNH96 models produce more magnesium in the intermediate and less iron in the upper mass range of Type II supernovae than WW95 models. To investigate the significance of these discrepancies for chemical evolution, we calculate simple stellar population yields for both sets of models and different initial mass function slopes. We conclude that the Mg yields of WW95 do not suffice to explain the [Mg/Fe] overabundance either in giant elliptical galaxies and bulges or in metal-poor stars in the solar neighbourhood and the Galactic halo. Calculating the chemical evolution in the solar neighbourhood according to the standard infall model, we find that, using WW95 and TNH96 nucleosynthesis, the solar magnesium abundance is underestimated by 29 and 7 per cent, respectively. We include the relaxation of the instantaneous mixing approximation in chemical evolution models by splitting the gas component into two different phases. In additional simulations of the chemical evolution in the solar neighbourhood, we discuss various time-scales for the mixing of the stellar ejecta with the interstellar medium. We find that a delay of the order of 108 yr leads to a better fit of the observational data in the [Mg/Fe]–[Fe/H] diagram without destroying the agreement with solar element abundances and the age–metallicity relation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-149
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume296
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1998

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