On the metallicity gradient of the Galactic disk*
Università di Roma Tor Vergata, via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133 Roma, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 European Southern Observatory (ESO) Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Faculté des Sciences, 33 rue Saint-Leu, 80039 Amiens Cedex 1, France
5 Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, GEPI, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
6 Royal Observatory of Belgium, Ringlaan 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
7 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
8 Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
9 South African Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 9, 7935 Observatory, South Africa
10 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Collurania, via M. Maggini, 64100 Teramo, Italy
11 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
Accepted: 5 June 2009
Aims. The iron abundance gradient in the Galactic stellar disk provides fundamental constraints on the chemical evolution of this important Galaxy component, however the spread around the mean slope is, at fixed Galactocentric distance, more than the estimated uncertainties.
Methods. To provide quantitative constraints on these trends, we adopted iron abundances for 265 classical Cepheids (more than 50% of the currently known sample) based either on high-resolution spectra or on photometric metallicity indices. Homogeneous distances were estimated using near-infrared period-luminosity relations. The sample covers the four disk quadrants, and their Galactocentric distances range from ~5 to ~17 kpc. We provided a new theoretical calibration of the metallicity-index-color (MIC) relation based on Walraven and NIR photometric passbands.
Results. We estimated the photometric metallicity of 124 Cepheids. Among them 66 Cepheids also have spectroscopic iron abundances and we found that the mean difference is dex. We also provide new iron abundances, based on high-resolution spectra, for four metal-rich Cepheids located in the inner disk. The remaining iron abundances are based on high-resolution spectra collected by our group (73) or available in the literature (130). A linear regression over the entire sample provides an iron gradient of dex kpc-1. The above slope agrees quite well, within the errors, with previous estimates based either on Cepheids or on open clusters covering similar Galactocentric distances. However, Cepheids located in the inner disk systematically appear more metal-rich than the mean metallicity gradient. Once we split the sample into inner ( kpc) and outer disk Cepheids, the slope ( dex kpc-1) in the former region is ≈3 times steeper than the slope in the latter one ( dex kpc-1). In the outer disk the radial distribution of metal-poor (MP, [Fe/H] dex) and metal-rich (MR) Cepheids across the four disk quadrants does not show a clear trend when moving from the innermost to the external disk regions. The relative fractions of MP and MR Cepheids in the 1st and in the 3rd quadrants differ at the 8σ (MP) and 15σ (MR) levels. Finally, we found that iron abundances in two local overdensities of the 2nd and of the 4th quadrant cover individually a range in iron abundance of ≈0.5 dex.
Conclusions. Current findings indicate that the recent chemical enrichment across the Galactic disk shows a clumpy distribution.
Key words: stars: variables: Cepheids / galaxy: disk / stars: oscillations / stars: abundances / stars: evolution / galaxy: stellar content
© ESO, 2009