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    We report the discovery of 40 new satellite dwarf galaxy candidates in the sphere of influence of the Sombrero Galaxy (M104), the most luminous galaxy in the Local Volume. Using the Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam, we surveyed 14.4 deg2 of its surroundings, extending to the virial radius. Visual inspection of the deep images and galfit modelling yielded a galaxy sample highly complete down to Mg ∼ −9 ($L_{g}\sim 3\times 10^{5}\ \mathrm{ L}_\odot$) and spanning magnitudes −16.4 < Mg < −8 and half-light radii 50 pc < re < 1600 pc assuming the distance of M104. These 40 new candidates, out of which 27 are group members with high confidence, double the number of potential satellites of M104 within the virial radius, placing it among the richest hosts in the Local Volume. Using a principal component analysis, we find that the entire sample of candidates is consistent with an almost circular on-sky distribution, more circular than any comparable environment found in the Illustris TNG100-1 (The Next Generation) simulation. However, the distribution of the high-probability sample is more oblate and consistent with the simulation. The cumulative satellite luminosity function is broadly consistent with analogues from the simulation, albeit it contains no bright satellite with Mg < −16.4 ($L_{g}\sim 3 \times 10^{8}\ \mathrm{ L}_\odot$), a $2.3\, \sigma$ occurrence. Follow-up spectroscopy to confirm group membership will begin to demonstrate how these systems can act as probes of the structure and formation history of the halo of M104.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 27, 2024
  2. Abstract

    We present uniformly measured stellar metallicities of 463 stars in 13 Milky Way (MW) ultra-faint dwarf galaxies (UFDs;MV= −7.1 to −0.8) using narrowband CaHK (F395N) imaging taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. This represents the largest homogeneous set of stellar metallicities in UFDs, increasing the number of metallicities in these 13 galaxies by a factor of 5 and doubling the number of metallicities in all known MW UFDs. We provide the first well-populated MDFs for all galaxies in this sample, with 〈[Fe/H]〉 ranging from −3.0 to −2.0 dex, andσ[Fe/H]ranging from 0.3–0.7 dex. We find a nearly constant [Fe/H]∼ −2.6 over 3 decades in luminosity (∼102–105L), suggesting that the mass–metallicity relationship does not hold for such faint systems. We find a larger fraction (24%) of extremely metal-poor ([Fe/H]< −3) stars across our sample compared to the literature (14%), but note that uncertainties in our most metal-poor measurements make this an upper limit. We find 19% of stars in our UFD sample to be metal-rich ([Fe/H] > −2), consistent with the sum of literature spectroscopic studies. MW UFDs are known to be predominantly >13 Gyr old, meaning that all stars in our sample are truly ancient, unlike metal-poor stars in the MW, which have a range of possible ages. Our UFD metallicities are not well matched to known streams in the MW, providing further evidence that known MW substructures are not related to UFDs. We include a catalog of our stars to encourage community follow-up studies, including priority targets for ELT-era observations.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 22, 2024
  3. Abstract

    We present spectroscopic data for 16,369 stellar targets within and/or toward 38 dwarf spheroidal galaxies and faint star clusters within the Milky Way halo environment. All spectra come from observations with the multiobject, fiber-fed echelle spectrographs M2FS at the Magellan/Clay telescope or Hectochelle at the MMT, reaching a typical limiting magnitudeG≲ 21. Data products include processed spectra from all observations and catalogs listing estimates—derived from template model fitting—of line-of-sight velocity (median uncertainty 1.4 km s−1) effective temperature (255 K), (base-10 logarithm of) surface gravity (0.59 dex in cgs units), [Fe/H] (0.4 dex) and [Mg/Fe] (0.27 dex) abundance ratios. The sample contains multiepoch measurements for 3720 sources, with up to 15 epochs per source, enabling studies of intrinsic spectroscopic variability. The sample contains 6087 likely red giant stars (based on surface gravity), and 4492 likely members (based on line-of-sight velocity and Gaia-measured proper motion) of the target systems. The number of member stars per individual target system ranges from a few, for the faintest systems, to ∼850 for the most luminous. For most systems, our new samples extend over wider fields than have previously been observed; of the likely members in our samples, 820 lie beyond 2 times the projected half-light radius of their host system, and 42 lie beyond 5Rhalf.

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  4. Abstract

    With the most trans-iron elements detected of any star outside the solar system, HD 222925 represents the most complete chemical inventory among metal-poor stars enhanced with elements made by the rapid neutron capture (“r”) process. As such, HD 222925 may be a new “template” for the observationalr-process, where before the (much higher-metallicity) solarr-process residuals were used. In this work, we test under which conditions a single site accounts for the entire elementalr-process abundance pattern of HD 222925. We found that several of our tests—with the single exception of the black hole–neutron star merger case—challenge the single-site assumption by producing an ejecta distribution that is highly constrained, in disagreement with simulation predictions. However, we found that ejecta distributions that are more in line with simulations can be obtained under the condition that the nuclear data near the secondr-process peak are changed. Therefore, for HD 222925 to be a canonicalr-process template likely as a product of a single astrophysical source, the nuclear data need to be reevaluated. The new elemental abundance pattern of HD 222925—including the abundances obtained from space-based, ultraviolet (UV) data—call for a deeper understanding of both astrophysicalr-process sites and nuclear data. Similar UV observations of additionalr-process–enhanced stars will be required to determine whether the elemental abundance pattern of HD 222925 is indeed a canonical template (or an outlier) for ther-process at low metallicity.

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  5. Abstract

    R-process enhanced stars with [Eu/Fe] ≥ +0.7 (so-calledr-II stars) are believed to have formed in an extremely neutron-rich environment in which a rare astrophysical event (e.g., a neutron-star merger) occurred. This scenario is supported by the existence of an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy, Reticulum II, where most of the stars are highly enhanced inr-process elements. In this scenario, some small fraction of dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way wererenhanced. When each r-enhanced dwarf galaxy accreted to the Milky Way, it deposited manyr-II stars in the Galactic halo with similar orbital actions. To search for the remnants of ther-enhanced systems, we analyzed the distribution of the orbital actions ofN= 161r-II stars in the solar neighborhood by using Gaia EDR3 data. Since the observational uncertainty is not negligible, we applied a newly developed greedy optimistic clustering method to the orbital actions of our sample stars. We found six clusters ofr-II stars that have similar orbits and chemistry, one of which is a new discovery. Given the apparent phase-mixed orbits of the member stars, we interpret that these clusters are good candidates for remnants of completely disruptedr-enhanced dwarf galaxies that merged with the ancient Milky Way.

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  6. Abstract

    The ages of the oldest stars shed light on the birth, chemical enrichment, and chemical evolution of the universe. Nucleocosmochronometry provides an avenue to determining the ages of these stars independent from stellar-evolution models. The uranium abundance, which can be determined for metal-poorr-process enhanced (RPE) stars, has been known to constitute one of the most robust chronometers known. So far, U abundance determination has used asingleUiiline atλ3859 Å. Consequently, U abundance has been reliably determined for only five RPE stars. Here, we present the first homogeneous U abundance analysis of four RPE stars using two novel Uiilines atλ4050 Å andλ4090 Å, in addition to the canonicalλ3859 Å line. We find that the Uiilines atλ4050 Å andλ4090 Å are reliable and render U abundances in agreement with theλ3859 U abundance, for all of the stars. We, thus, determine revised U abundances for RPE stars, 2MASS J09544277+5246414, RAVE J203843.2–002333, HE 1523–0901, and CS 31082–001, using multiple Uiilines. We also provide nucleocosmochronometric ages of these stars based on the newly derived U, Th, and Eu abundances. The results of this study open up a new avenue to reliably and homogeneously determine U abundance for a significantly larger number of RPE stars. This will, in turn, enable robust constraints on the nucleocosmochronometric ages of RPE stars, which can be applied to understand the chemical enrichment and evolution in the early universe, especially ofr-process elements.

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    We present new MMT/Hectochelle spectroscopic measurements for 257 stars observed along the line of sight to the ultrafaint dwarf galaxy Triangulum II (Tri II). Combining results from previous Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy, we obtain a sample that includes 16 likely members of Tri II, with up to 10 independent redshift measurements per star. To this multi-epoch kinematic data set, we apply methodology that we develop in order to infer binary orbital parameters from sparsely sampled radial velocity curves with as few as two epochs. For a previously identified (spatially unresolved) binary system in Tri II, we infer an orbital solution with period $296.0_{-3.3}^{+3.8} \rm ~ d$, semimajor axis $1.12^{+0.41}_{-0.24}\rm ~au$, and systemic velocity $-380.0 \pm 1.7 \rm ~km ~s^{-1}$ that we then use in the analysis of Tri II’s internal kinematics. Despite this improvement in the modelling of binary star systems, the current data remain insufficient to resolve the velocity dispersion of Tri II. We instead find a 95 per cent confidence upper limit of $\sigma _{v} \lesssim 3.4 \rm ~km~s^{-1}$.

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  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2025
  9. Abstract The ultrafaint dwarf galaxy Reticulum II was enriched by a single rare and prolific r -process event. The r -process content of Reticulum II thus provides a unique opportunity to study metal mixing in a relic first galaxy. Using multi-object high-resolution spectroscopy with VLT/GIRAFFE and Magellan/M2FS, we identify 32 clear spectroscopic member stars and measure abundances of Mg, Ca, Fe, and Ba where possible. We find 72 − 12 + 10 % of the stars are r -process-enhanced, with a mean [ Ba / H ] = − 1.68 ± 0.07 and unresolved intrinsic dispersion σ [Ba/H] <0.20. The homogeneous r -process abundances imply that Ret II’s metals are well mixed by the time the r -enhanced stars form, which simulations have shown requires at least 100 Myr of metal mixing in between bursts of star formation to homogenize. This is the first direct evidence of bursty star formation in an ultrafaint dwarf galaxy. The homogeneous dilution prefers a prompt and high-yield r -process site, such as collapsar disk winds or prompt neutron star mergers. We also find evidence from [Ba/H] and [Mg/Ca] that the r -enhanced stars in Ret II formed in the absence of substantial pristine gas accretion, perhaps indicating that ≈70% of Ret II stars formed after reionization. 
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  10. 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 from 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. 
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