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  1. ABSTRACT Understanding the assembly of our Galaxy requires us to also characterize the systems that helped build it. In this work, we accomplish this by exploring the chemistry of accreted halo stars from Gaia-Enceladus/Gaia-Sausage (GES) selected in the infrared from the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) Data Release 16. We use high resolution optical spectra for 62 GES stars to measure abundances in 20 elements spanning the α, Fe-peak, light, odd-Z, and notably, the neutron-capture groups of elements to understand their trends in the context of and in contrast to the Milky Way and other stellar populations. Using these derived abundances we find that the optical and the infrared abundances agree to within 0.15 dex except for O, Co, Na, Cu, and Ce. These stars have enhanced neutron-capture abundance trends compared to the Milky Way, and their [Eu/Mg] and neutron-capture abundance ratios (e.g. [Y/Eu], [Ba/Eu], [Zr/Ba], [La/Ba], and [Nd/Ba]) point to r-process enhancement and a delay in s-process enrichment. Their [α/Fe] trend is lower than the Milky Way trend for [Fe/H] > −1.5 dex, similar to previous studies of GES stars and consistent with the picture that these stars formed in a system with a lower rate ofmore »star formation. This is further supported by their depleted abundances in Ni, Na, and Cu abundances, again, similar to previous studies of low-α stars with accreted origins.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 2, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT The characteristics of the stellar populations in the Galactic bulge inform and constrain the Milky Way’s formation and evolution. The metal-poor population is particularly important in light of cosmological simulations, which predict that some of the oldest stars in the Galaxy now reside in its centre. The metal-poor bulge appears to consist of multiple stellar populations that require dynamical analyses to disentangle. In this work, we undertake a detailed chemodynamical study of the metal-poor stars in the inner Galaxy. Using R ∼ 20 000 VLT/GIRAFFE spectra of 319 metal-poor (−2.55 dex ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ 0.83 dex, with $\overline{\rm {[Fe/H]}}$ = −0.84 dex) stars, we perform stellar parameter analysis and report 12 elemental abundances (C, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Mn, Zn, Ba, and Ce) with precisions of ≈0.10 dex. Based on kinematic and spatial properties, we categorize the stars into four groups, associated with the following Galactic structures: the inner bulge, the outer bulge, the halo, and the disc. We find evidence that the inner and outer bulge population is more chemically complex (i.e. higher chemical dimensionality and less correlated abundances) than the halo population. This result suggests that the older bulge population was enriched by amore »larger diversity of nucleosynthetic events. We also find one inner bulge star with a [Ca/Mg] ratio consistent with theoretical pair-instability supernova yields and two stars that have chemistry consistent with globular cluster stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 8, 2022
  3. ABSTRACT Recently, a new cylindrical-shaped stream of stars up to 700 pc long was discovered hiding in the Galactic disc using kinematic data enabled by the Gaia mission. This stream of stars, dubbed Pisces–Eridanus (Psc–Eri), was initially thought to be as old as 1 Gyr, yet its stars shared a rotation period distribution consistent with a population that was 120 Myr old. Here, we explore the detailed chemical nature of this stellar stream. We carried out high-resolution spectroscopic follow-up of 42 Psc–Eri stars using McDonald Observatory and combined these data with information for 40 members observed with the low-resolution LAMOST spectroscopic survey. Together, these data enabled us to measure the abundance distribution of light/odd-Z (Li, Na, Al, Sc, V), α (Mg, Si, Ca, Ti), Fe-peak (Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Zn), and neutron capture (Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, La, Nd, Eu) elements along the Psc–Eri stream. We find that the stream is (1) near-solar metallicity with [Fe/H] = –0.03 dex and (2) has a metallicity spread of 0.07 dex (or 0.04 dex when outliers are excluded). We also find that (3) the abundance of Li indicates that Psc–Eri is ∼120 Myr old, consistent with its gyrochronology age. Additionally, Psc–Eri has (4) [X/Fe] abundance spreadsmore »that are just larger than the typical uncertainty in most elements, (5) it is a cylindrical-like system whose outer edges rotate about the centre, and (6) no significant abundance gradients along its major axis except a potentially weak gradient in [Si/Fe]. These results show that Psc–Eri is a uniquely close young chemically interesting laboratory for testing our understanding of star and planet formation.« less
  4. ABSTRACT The metal-poor stars in the bulge are important relics of the Milky Way’s formation history, as simulations predict that they are some of the oldest stars in the Galaxy. In order to determine if they are truly ancient stars, we must understand their origins. Currently, it is unclear if the metal-poor stars in the bulge ([Fe/H] < −1 dex) are merely halo interlopers, a unique accreted population, part of the boxy/peanut-shaped bulge, or a classical bulge population. In this work, we use spectra from the VLT/FLAMES spectrograph to obtain metallicity estimates using the Ca-II triplet of 473 bulge stars (187 of which have [Fe/H] < −1 dex), targeted using SkyMapper photometry. We also use Gaia DR2 data to infer the Galactic positions and velocities along with orbital properties for 523 stars. We employ a probabilistic orbit analysis and find that about half of our sample has a >50 per cent probability of being bound to the bulge, and half are halo interlopers. We also see that the occurrence rate of halo interlopers increases steadily with decreasing metallicity across the full range of our sample (−3 < [Fe/H] < 0.5). Our examination of the kinematics of the confined compared to the unbound stars indicatesmore »the metal-poor bulge comprises at least two populations; those confined to the boxy/peanut bulge and halo stars passing through the inner galaxy. We conclude that an orbital analysis approach, as we have employed, is important to understand the composite nature of the metal-poor stars in the inner region.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Large pristine samples of red clump stars are highly sought after given that they are standard candles and give precise distances even at large distances. However, it is difficult to cleanly select red clumps stars because they can have the same Teff and log g as red giant branch stars. Recently, it was shown that the asteroseismic parameters, $\rm {\Delta }$P and $\rm {\Delta \nu }$, which are used to accurately select red clump stars, can be derived from spectra using the change in the surface carbon to nitrogen ratio ([C/N]) caused by mixing during the red giant branch. This change in [C/N] can also impact the spectral energy distribution. In this study, we predict the $\rm {\Delta }$P, $\rm {\Delta \nu }$, Teff, and log g using 2MASS, AllWISE, Gaia, and Pan-STARRS data in order to select a clean sample of red clump stars. We achieve a contamination rate of ∼20 per cent, equivalent to what is achieved when selecting from Teff and log g derived from low-resolution spectra. Finally, we present two red clump samples. One sample has a contamination rate of ∼20 per cent and ∼405 000 red clump stars. The other has a contamination of ∼33 per cent and ∼2.6 million redmore »clump stars that includes ∼75 000 stars at distances >10 kpc. For |b| > 30 deg, we find ∼15 000 stars with contamination rate of ∼9 per cent. The scientific potential of this catalogue for studying the structure and formation history of the Galaxy is vast, given that it includes millions of precise distances to stars in the inner bulge and distant halo where astrometric distances are imprecise.« less
  6. ABSTRACT

    One of the high-level goals of Galactic archaeology is chemical tagging of stars across the Milky Way to piece together its assembly history. For this to work, stars born together must be uniquely chemically homogeneous. Wide binary systems are an important laboratory to test this underlying assumption. Here, we present the detailed chemical abundance patterns of 50 stars across 25 wide binary systems comprised of main-sequence stars of similar spectral type identified in Gaia DR2 with the aim of quantifying their level of chemical homogeneity. Using high-resolution spectra obtained with McDonald Observatory, we derive stellar atmospheric parameters and precise detailed chemical abundances for light/odd-Z (Li, C, Na, Al, Sc, V, Cu), α (Mg, Si, Ca), Fe-peak (Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Zn), and neutron capture (Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, La, Nd, Eu) elements. Results indicate that 80 per cent (20 pairs) of the systems are homogeneous in [Fe/H] at levels below 0.02 dex. These systems are also chemically homogeneous in all elemental abundances studied, with offsets and dispersions consistent with measurement uncertainties. We also find that wide binary systems are far more chemically homogeneous than random pairings of field stars of similar spectral type. These results indicate that wide binary systems tendmore »to be chemically homogeneous but in some cases they can differ in their detailed elemental abundances at a level of [X/H] ∼ 0.10 dex, overall implying chemical tagging in broad strokes can work.

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