Molybdenum, ruthenium, and the heavy r-process elements in moderately metal-poor main-sequence turnoff stars.
Abstract (from CDS):
The ratios of elemental abundances observed in metal-poor stars of the Galactic halo provide a unique present-day record of the nucleosynthesis products of its earliest stars. While the heaviest elements were synthesized by the r- and s-processes, dominant production mechanisms of light trans-ironic elements were obscure until recently. This work investigates further our 2011 conclusion that the low-entropy regime of a high-entropy wind (HEW) produced molybdenum and ruthenium in two moderately metal-poor turnoff stars that showed extreme overabundances of those elements with respect to iron. Only a few, rare nucleosynthesis events may have been involved. Here we determine abundances for Mo, Ru, and other trans-Fe elements for 28 similar stars by matching spectral calculations to well-exposed near-UV Keck HIRES spectra obtained for beryllium abundances. In each of the 26 turnoff stars with Mo or Ru line detections and no evidence for s-process production (therefore old), we find Mo and Ru to be three to six times overabundant. In contrast, the maximum overabundance is reduced to factors of three and two for the neighboring elements zirconium and palladium. Since the overproduction peaks sharply at Mo and Ru, a low-entropy HEW is confirmed as its origin. The overabundance level of the heavy r-process elements varies significantly, from none to a factor of four, but is uncorrelated with Mo and Ru overabundances. Despite their moderate metallicity, stars in this group trace the products of different nucleosynthetic events: possibly very few events, possibly events whose output depended on environment, metallicity, or time.
Galaxy: halo - nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances - stars: abundances - stars: Population II