Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte Bamberg & ECAP, Astronomisches Institut, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany e-mail: Alfred.Tillich@sternwarte.uni-erlangen.de
2 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted: 2 April 2010
Context. Blue stragglers, which are stars that appear to be younger than they should be, are an important population of unusual stars in both stellar clusters and the halo field of the Galaxy. Most formation scenarios evoke either stellar collisions or binary stars that transfer mass or merge.
Aims. We investigate high-velocity stars in the Galactic halo and perform a spectral and kinematical analysis to shed light on their nature and origin. Here we report that SDSSJ130005.62+042201.6 (J1300+0422 for short) is an A-type star of unusually large radial velocity (504.6 ± 5 km s-1).
Methods. From a quantitative NLTE (and LTE) spectral analysis of medium-resolution optical spectra, the elemental composition is derived. Proper motion measurements combined with a spectroscopic distance estimate allow us to determine its present space velocity. Its kinematical properties are derived by integrating the equation of motion in the Galactic potential.
Results. We find J1300+0422 to be metal poor ([M/H] = –1.2) and exhibit an α-element enrichment (0.3–0.4 dex) that is characteristic of the halo population, as confirmed by a kinematical analysis of its 3D space motions, which places it on a highly eccentric retrograde Galactic orbit.
Conclusions. The mass of J1300+0422 (1.15 ± 0.10 ) is higher than the globular cluster turn-off masses indicating that it is a halo blue straggler star. At a Galactic rest-frame velocity of ≈467 km s-1, the star travels faster than any known blue straggler but is still bound to the Galaxy.
Key words: stars: kinematics and dynamics / stars: individual: SDSSJ130005.62+042201.6 / blue stragglers / stars: Population II / stars: atmospheres / Galaxy: halo
© ESO, 2010