Aims: The abundance patterns of the neutron-capture elements in metal-poor stars provide a unique record of the nucleosynthesis products of the earlier massive primitive objects.
Methods: We measured new abundances of so-called light neutron-capture of first peak elements using local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) 1D analysis; this analysis resulted in a sample of 11 very metal-poor stars, from [Fe/H] = -2.5 to [Fe/H] = -3.4, and one carbon-rich star, CS 22949-037 with [Fe/H] = -4.0. The abundances were compared to those observed in two classical metal-poor stars: the typical r-rich star CS 31082-001 ([Eu/Fe] > +1.0) and the r-poor star HD 122563 ([Eu/Fe] < 0.0), which are known to present a strong enrichment of the first peak neutron-capture elements relative to the second peak.
Results: Within the first peak, the abundances are well correlated in analogy to the well-known correlation inside the abundances of the second-peak elements. In contrast, there is no correlation between any first peak element with any second peak element. We show that the scatter of the ratio of the first peak abundance over second peak abundance increases when the mean abundance of the second peak elements decreases from r-rich to r-poor stars. We found two new r-poor stars that are very similar to HD 122563. A third r-poor star, CS 22897-008, is even more extreme; this star shows the most extreme example of first peak elements enrichment to date. On the contrary, another r-poor star (BD-18 5550) has a pattern of first peak elements that is similar to the typical r-rich stars CS 31082-001, however this star has some Mo enrichment.
Conclusions: The distribution of the neutron-capture elements in our very metal-poor stars can be understood as the combination of at least two mechanisms: one that enriches the forming stars cloud homogeneously through the main r-process and leads to an element pattern similar to the r-rich stars, such as CS 31082-001; and another that forms mainly lighter, first peak elements.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- March 2018
- stars: abundances;
- stars: population II;
- galaxy: halo;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 10 pages, 11 figures, Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics