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2000ApJ...531L..33T - Astrophys. J., 531, L33-L36 (2000/March-1)

Probing the site for r-process nucleosynthesis with abundances of barium and magnesium in extremely metal-poor stars.


Abstract (from CDS):

We suggest that if the astrophysical site for r-process nucleosynthesis in the early Galaxy is confined to a narrow mass range of Type II supernova (SN II) progenitors, with a lower mass limit of Mms=20 M, a unique feature in the observed distribution of [Ba/Mg] versus [Mg/H] for extremely metal-poor stars can be adequately reproduced. We associate this feature, a bifurcation of the observed elemental ratios into two branches in the Mg abundance interval -3.7≤[Mg/H]≤-2.3, with two distinct processes. The first branch, which we call the y-branch, is associated with the production of Ba and Mg from individual massive supernovae. The derived mass of Ba synthesized in SNe II is 8.5x10–6 M for Mms=20 M and 4.5x10–8 M for Mms=25 M. We conclude that SNe II with Mms~20 M are the dominant source of r-process nucleosynthesis in the early Galaxy. An SN-induced chemical evolution model with this Mms-dependent Ba yield creates the y-branch, reflecting the different nucleosynthesis yields of [Ba/Mg] for each SN II with Mms≳20 M. The second branch, which we call the i-branch, is associated with the elemental abundance ratios of stars which were formed in the dense shells of the interstellar medium swept up by SNe II with Mms<20 M that do not synthesize r-process elements, and it applies to stars with observed Mg abundances in the range [Mg/H]←2.7. The Ba abundances in these stars reflect those of the interstellar gas at the (later) time of their formation. The existence of a [Ba/Mg] i-branch strongly suggests that SNe II that are associated with stars of progenitor mass Mms≤20 M are infertile sources for the production of r-process elements. We predict the existence of this i-branch for other r-process elements, such as europium (Eu), to the extent that their production site is in common with Ba.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxy: Evolution - Galaxy: Halo - Stars: Abundances - Stars: Population II - Stars: Supernovae: General - ISM: Supernova Remnants

Simbad objects: 10

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