Volume 513, April 2010
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||21 April 2010|
Searching for extremely low-metallicity stars in classical dwarf galaxies
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Laboratoire Cassiopée UMR 6202, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France
3 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
4 Dpto. de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
5 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB03 0HA, UK
6 European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
7 Observatoire de Genève, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de l'École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
8 University of Texas, McDonald Observatory, HC75 Box 1337-McD, Fort Davis, TX 79734, USA
9 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, V8P 1A1, Canada
Accepted: 15 January 2010
The NIR Ca ii triplet absorption lines have proven to be an important tool for quantitative spectroscopy of individual red giant branch stars in the Local Group, providing a better understanding of metallicities of stars in the Milky Way and dwarf galaxies and thereby an opportunity to constrain their chemical evolution processes. An interesting puzzle in this field is the significant lack of extremely metal-poor stars, below [Fe/H] = –3, found in classical dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way using this technique. The question arises whether these stars are really absent, or if the empirical Ca ii triplet method used to study these systems is biased in the low-metallicity regime. Here we present results of synthetic spectral analysis of the Ca ii triplet, that is focused on a better understanding of spectroscopic measurements of low-metallicity giant stars. Our results start to deviate strongly from the widely-used and linear empirical calibrations at [Fe/H] < –2. We provide a new calibration for Ca ii triplet studies which is valid for –0.5 ≥ [Fe/H] ≥ –4. We subsequently apply this new calibration to current data sets and suggest that the classical dwarf galaxies are not so devoid of extremely low-metallicity stars as was previously thought.
Key words: stars: abundances / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: evolution / Local Group / Galaxy: formation
© ESO, 2010
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