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  1. Abstract We present a nearly complete rapid neutron-capture process ( r -process) chemical inventory of the metal-poor ([Fe/H] = −1.46 ± 0.10) r -process-enhanced ([Eu/Fe] = +1.32 ± 0.08) halo star HD 222925. This abundance set is the most complete for any object beyond the solar system, with a total of 63 metals detected and seven with upper limits. It comprises 42 elements from 31 ≤ Z ≤ 90, including elements rarely detected in r -process-enhanced stars, such as Ga, Ge, As, Se, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Te, W, Re, Os, Ir, Pt, and Au. We derive these abundances from an analysis of 404 absorption lines in ultraviolet spectra collected using the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope and previously analyzed optical spectra. A series of appendices discusses the atomic data and quality of fits for these lines. The r -process elements from Ba to Pb, including all elements at the third r -process peak, exhibit remarkable agreement with the solar r -process residuals, with a standard deviation of the differences of only 0.08 dex (17%). In contrast, deviations among the lighter elements from Ga to Te span nearly 1.4 dex, and they show distinct trends frommore »Ga to Se, Nb through Cd, and In through Te. The r -process contribution to Ga, Ge, and As is small, and Se is the lightest element whose production is dominated by the r -process. The lanthanide fraction, log X La = −1.39 ± 0.09, is typical for r -process-enhanced stars and higher than that of the kilonova from the GW170817 neutron-star merger event. We advocate adopting this pattern as an alternative to the solar r -process-element residuals when confronting future theoretical models of heavy-element nucleosynthesis with observations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    We present new observational benchmarks of rapid neutron-capture process (r-process) nucleosynthesis for elements at and between the first (A∼ 80) and second (A∼ 130) peaks. Our analysis is based on archival ultraviolet and optical spectroscopy of eight metal-poor stars with Se (Z= 34) or Te (Z= 52) detections, whoser-process enhancement varies by more than a factor of 30 (−0.22 ≤ [Eu/Fe] ≤ +1.32). We calculate ratios among the abundances of Se, Sr through Mo (38 ≤Z≤ 42), and Te. These benchmarks may offer a new empirical alternative to the predicted solar systemr-process residual pattern. The Te abundances in these stars correlate more closely with the lighterr-process elements than the heavier ones, contradicting and superseding previous findings. The small star-to-star dispersion among the abundances of Se, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, and Te (≤0.13 dex, or 26%) matches that observed among the abundances of the lanthanides and thirdr-process-peak elements. The concept ofr-process universality that is recognized among the lanthanide and third-peak elements inr-process-enhanced stars may also apply to Se, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, and Te, provided the overall abundances of the lighterr-process elements are scaled independently of the heavier ones. The abundance behavior of the elements Ru through Snmore »(44 ≤Z≤ 50) requires further study. Our results suggest that at least one relatively common source in the early Universe produced a consistent abundance pattern among some elements spanning the first and secondr-process peaks.

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  3. Abstract

    The ultra-faint dwarf galaxy Reticulum II (Ret II) exhibits a unique chemical evolution history, with7212+10% of its stars strongly enhanced inr-process elements. We present deep Hubble Space Telescope photometry of Ret II and analyze its star formation history. As in other ultra-faint dwarfs, the color–magnitude diagram is best fit by a model consisting of two bursts of star formation. If we assume that the bursts were instantaneous, then the older burst occurred around the epoch of reionization, forming ∼80% of the stars in the galaxy, while the remainder of the stars formed ∼3 Gyr later. When the bursts are allowed to have nonzero durations, we obtain slightly better fits. The best-fitting model in this case consists of two bursts beginning before reionization, with approximately half the stars formed in a short (100 Myr) burst and the other half in a more extended period lasting 2.6 Gyr. Considering the full set of viable star formation history models, we find that 28% of the stars formed within 500 ± 200 Myr of the onset of star formation. The combination of the star formation history and the prevalence ofr-process-enhanced stars demonstrates that ther-process elements in Ret II must havemore »been synthesized early in its initial star-forming phase. We therefore constrain the delay time between the formation of the first stars in Ret II and ther-process nucleosynthesis to be less than 500 Myr. This measurement rules out anr-process source with a delay time of several Gyr or more, such as GW170817.

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