Volume 416, Number 3, March IV 2004
|Page(s)||997 - 1011|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||09 March 2004|
Neutron star mergers versus core-collapse supernovae as dominant r-process sites in the early Galaxy
Institut für Physik der Universität Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
2 Astronomisches Institut der Universität Basel, Venusstrasse 7, 4102 Binningen, Switzerland
3 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA
Corresponding author: D. Argast, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 6 November 2003
The astrophysical nature of r-process sites is a long-standing mystery and many probable sources have been suggested, among them lower-mass core-collapse supernovae (in the range 8–), higher-mass core-collapse supernovae (with masses 20 ) and neutron star mergers. In this work, we present a detailed inhomogeneous chemical evolution study that considers for the first time neutron star mergers as major r-process sources, and compare this scenario to the ones in which core-collapse supernovae act as dominant r-process sites. We conclude that, due to the lack of reliable iron and r-process yields as a function of progenitor mass, it is not possible at present to distinguish between the lower-mass and higher-mass supernovae scenarios within the framework of inhomogeneous chemical evolution. However, neutron-star mergers seem to be ruled out as the dominant r-process source, since their low rates of occurrence would lead to r-process enrichment that is not consistent with observations at very low metallicities. Additionally, the considerable injection of r-process material by a single neutron-star merger leads to a scatter in [r-process/Fe] ratios at later times which is much too large compared to observations.
Key words: nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances / stars: abundances / ISM: abundances / Galaxy: abundances / Galaxy: evolution / Galaxy: halo
© ESO, 2004
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