Evolution of the barium abundance in the early Galaxy from a NLTE analysis of the Ba lines in a homogeneous sample of EMP stars *
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, 92125 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Astronomy and Astronomical Observatory, Odessa National University, Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Odessa branch, Shevchenko Park, 65014 Odessa, Ukraine e-mail: email@example.com
3 Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
Accepted: 18 November 2008
Context. Barium is a key element in constraining the evolution of the (not well understood) r-process in the first galactic stars and currently the Ba abundances in these very metal-poor stars were mostly measured under the Local Thermodynamical Equilibrium (LTE) assumption, which may lead in general to an underestimation of Ba.
Aims. We present here determinations of the barium abundance taking into account the non-LTE (NLTE) effects in a sample of extremely metal-poor stars (EMP stars): 6 turnoff stars and 35 giants.
Methods. The NLTE profiles of the three unblended lines (4554 Å, 5853 Å, 6496 Å) have been computed. The computations were made with a modified version of the MULTI code, applied to an atomic model of the Ba atom with 31 levels of , 101 levels of , and compared to the observations.
Results. The ratios of the NLTE abundances of barium relative to Fe are slightly shifted towards the solar ratio. In the plot of [Ba/Fe] versus [Fe/H], the slope of the regression line is slightly reduced as is the scatter. In the interval , [Ba/Fe] decreases with a slope of about 1.4 and a scatter close to 0.44. For the number of stars is not sufficient to decide whether [Ba/Fe] keeps decreasing (and then CD-38:245 should be considered as a peculiar “barium-rich star”) or if a plateau is reached as soon as . In both cases the scatter remains quite large, larger than what can be accounted for by the measurement and determination errors, suggesting the influence of a complex process of Ba production, and/or inefficient mixing in the early Galaxy.
Key words: stars: general / stars: abundances / Galaxy: halo / Galaxy: evolution / stars: supernovae: general / Galaxy: abundances
© ESO, 2009