CHEMISTRY OF THE MOST METAL-POOR STARS IN THE BULGE AND THE z ≳ 10 UNIVERSE
Author(s)Casey, Andrew R.; Schlaufman, Kevin C
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Metal-poor stars in the Milky Way are local relics of the epoch of the first stars and the first galaxies. However, a low metallicity does not prove that a star formed in this ancient era, as metal-poor stars form over a range of redshift in different environments. Theoretical models of Milky Way formation have shown that at constant metallicity, the oldest stars are those closest to the center of the Galaxy on the most tightly bound orbits. For that reason, the most metal-poor stars in the bulge of the Milky Way provide excellent tracers of the chemistry of the high-redshift universe. We report the dynamics and detailed chemical abundances of three stars in the bulge with [Fe/H] ≲ -2.7, two of which are the most metal-poor stars in the bulge in the literature. We find that with the exception of scandium, all three stars follow the abundance trends identified previously for metal-poor halo stars. These three stars have the lowest [Sc ii/Fe] abundances yet seen in α-enhanced giant stars in the Galaxy. Moreover, all three stars are outliers in the otherwise tight [Sc ii/Fe]–[Ti ii/Fe] relation observed among metal-poor halo stars. Theoretical models predict that there is a 30% chance that at least one of these stars formed at z ≳ 15, while there is a 70% chance that at least one formed at 10 ≲ z ≲ 15. These observations imply that by z ~ 10, the progenitor galaxies of the Milky Way had both reached [Fe/H] ~ -3.0 and established the abundance pattern observed in extremely metal-poor stars.
DepartmentMIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
The Astrophysical Journal
Casey, Andrew R., and Kevin C. Schlaufman. “CHEMISTRY OF THE MOST METAL-POOR STARS IN THE BULGE AND THE z ≳ 10 UNIVERSE.” The Astrophysical Journal 809, no. 2 (August 13, 2015): 110. © 2015 The American Astronomical Society
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