Abundances in giant stars of the globular cluster NGC 6752
Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA e-mail: [tofu;dll]@astro.as.utexas.edu
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina, NC 27599, USA
3 Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark e-mail: [fgj;pen;hrj]@phys.au.dk
Accepted: 6 April 2005
Recent theoretical yields and chemical evolution models demonstrate that intermediate-mass AGB stars cannot reproduce the observed abundance distributions of O, Na, Mg, and Al. As a further observational test of this finding, we present elemental abundance ratios [X/Fe] for 20 elements in 38 bright giants of the globular cluster NGC 6752 based on high-resolution, high signal-to-noise spectra obtained with UVES on the VLT. This is the most complete spectroscopic analysis of this cluster in terms of the number of elements considered and the number of stars in the sample. The stars span more than 1000 K in effective temperature and more than 3 visual magnitudes along the red giant branch. None of the abundance ratios [X/Fe] show a correlation with evolutionary status. For Si and heavier elements, the small scatter in [X/Fe] may be attributable to the measurement uncertainties. Our mean abundance ratios [X/Fe] are in good agreement with previous studies of this cluster and are also consistent with other globular clusters and field stars at the same metallicity. The mean abundance ratios [Ba/Eu] and [La/Eu] exhibit values, in agreement with field stars at the same metallicity, that lie approximately midway between the pure r-process and the solar (s-process + r-process) mix, indicating that AGB stars have played a role in the chemical evolution of the proto-cluster gas. For the first time, we find possible evidence for an abundance variation for elements heavier than Al in this cluster. We find a correlation between [Si/Fe] and [Al/Fe] which is consistent with the abundance anomalies being synthesized via proton captures at high temperatures. Leakage from the Mg-Al chain into 28Si may explain the Si excess in stars with the highest [Al/Fe]. We identify correlations between [Y/Fe] and [Al/Fe], [Zr/Fe] and [Al/Fe], and [Ba/Fe] and [Al/Fe] suggesting that Y, Zr, and Ba abundances may increase by about 0.1 dex as Al increases by about 1.3 dex. While the correlations are statistically significant, the amplitudes of the variations are small. If the small variations in Y, Zr, and Ba are indeed real, then the synthesis of the Al anomalies must have taken place within an unknown class of stars that also ran the s-process.
Key words: globular clusters: general / globular clusters: individual: NGC 6752 / stars: abundances / stars: evolution / stars: fundamental parameters
© ESO, 2005