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Chemical composition of extremely metal-poor stars in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy

Aoki, W. and Arimoto, N. and Sadakane, K. and Tolstoy, E. and Battaglia, G. and Jablonka, P. and Shetrone, M. and Letarte, B. and Irwin, M. and Hill, V. and Francois, P. and Venn, K. and Primas, F. and Helmi, A. and Kaufer, A. and Tafelmeyer, M. and Szeifert, T. and Babusiaux, C. (2009) Chemical composition of extremely metal-poor stars in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 502 (2). pp. 569-578. ISSN 0004-6361.

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Context. Individual stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies around the Milky Way Galaxy have been studied both photometrically and spectroscopically. Extremely metal-poor stars among them are very valuable because they should record the early enrichment in the Local Group. However, our understanding of these stars is very limited because detailed chemical abundance measurements are needed from high resolution spectroscopy. Aims. To constrain the formation and chemical evolution of dwarf galaxies, metallicity and chemical composition of extremely metal-poor stars are investigated. Methods. Chemical abundances of six extremely metal-poor ([Fe/H] < -2.5) stars in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy are determined based on high resolution spectroscopy (R=40 000) with the Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph. Results. (1) The Fe abundances derived from the high resolution spectra are in good agreement with the metallicity estimated from the Ca triplet lines in low resolution spectra. The lack of stars with [Fe/H] ≲ -3 in Sextans, found by previous estimates from the Ca triplet, is confirmed by our measurements, although we note that high resolution spectroscopy for a larger sample of stars will be necessary to estimate the true fraction of stars with such low metallicity. (2) While one object shows an overabundance of Mg (similar to Galactic halo stars), the Mg/Fe ratios of the remaining five stars are similar to the solar value. This is the first time that low Mg/Fe ratios at such low metallicities have been found in a dwarf spheroidal galaxy. No evidence for over-abundances of Ca and Ti are found in these five stars, though the measurements for these elements are less certain. Possible mechanisms to produce low Mg/Fe ratios, with respect to that of Galactic halo stars, are discussed. (3) Ba is under-abundant in four objects, while the remaining two stars exhibit large and moderate excesses of this element. The abundance distribution of Ba in this galaxy is similar to that in the Galactic halo, indicating that the enrichment of heavy elements, probably by the r-process, started at metallicities [Fe/H] ≲ -2.5, as found in the Galactic halo.

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Letarte, B.0000-0001-5462-4140
Additional Information:© ESO 2009. Received 27 February 2009 ; accepted 22 April 2009. This work has been supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (No. 19540245). W. A. is supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Science Research from JSPS (grant 18104003). A.H. thanks the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research (NWO) for financial support. K.A.V. acknowledges funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology19540245
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)18104003
Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances - stars: abundances - galaxies: abundances - galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: individual: Sextans
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090824-130904155
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Official Citation:Chemical composition of extremely metal-poor stars in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy W. Aoki, N. Arimoto, K. Sadakane, E. Tolstoy, G. Battaglia, P. Jablonka, M. Shetrone, B. Letarte, M. Irwin, V. Hill, P. Francois, K. Venn, F. Primas, A. Helmi, A. Kaufer, M. Tafelmeyer, T. Szeifert and C. Babusiaux A&A 502 (2) 569-578 (2009) DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200911959
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15274
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:26 Aug 2009 16:11
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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