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Published August 20, 2009 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

The Chemical Evolution of the Draco Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy


We present an abundance analysis based on high-resolution spectra of eight stars selected to span the full range in metallicity in the Draco dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy. We find that [Fe/H] for the sample stars ranges from –1.5 to –3.0 dex. Combining our sample with previously published work for a total of 14 luminous Draco giants, we show that the abundance ratios [Na/Fe], [Mg/Fe], and [Si/Fe] for the Draco giants overlap those of Galactic halo giants at the lowest [Fe/H] probed, but are significantly lower for the higher Fe-metallicity Draco stars. For the explosive α-elements Ca and Ti, the abundance ratios for Draco giants with [Fe/H] > – 2.4 dex are approximately constant and slightly subsolar, well below values characteristic of Galactic halo stars. The s-process contribution to the production of heavy elements begins at significantly lower Fe metallicity than in the Galactic halo. Using a toy model we compare the behavior of the abundance ratios within the sample of Draco giants with those from the literature of Galactic globular clusters, and the Carina and Sgr dSph galaxies. The differences appear to be related to the timescale for buildup of the heavy elements, with Draco having the slowest rate. We note the presence of a Draco giant with [Fe/H] <–3.0 dex in our sample, and reaffirm that the inner Galactic halo could have been formed by early accretion of Galactic satellite galaxies and dissolution of young globular clusters, while the outer halo could have formed from those satellite galaxies accreted later.

Additional Information

© 2009. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2008 December 22, accepted for publication 2009 June 19. Published 2009 July 29. The entire Keck/HIRES and LRIS user communities owes a huge debt to Jerry Nelson, Gerry Smith, Steve Vogt, and many other people who have worked to make the Keck Telescope and HIRES a reality and to operate and maintain the Keck Observatory. We are grateful to the W. M. Keck Foundation for the vision to fund the construction of the W. M. Keck Observatory. The authors wish to extend special thanks to those of Hawaiian ancestry on whose sacred mountain we are privileged to be guests.Without their generous hospitality, none of the observations presented herein would have been possible. The authors are grateful to NSF grant AST-0507219 for partial support. This publication makes use of data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

Attached Files

Published - Cohen2009p5717Astrophys_J.pdf

Accepted Version - 0906.1006.pdf


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