Volume 586, February 2016
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||11 February 2016|
The role of binaries in the enrichment of the early Galactic halo
II. Carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars: CEMP-no stars
1 Landessternwarte, ZAH, Heidelberg University, Königstuhl 12, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Dark Cosmology Centre, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
3 Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
4 Department of Physics and JINA Center for the Evolution of the Elements, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
5 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
6 Centre for Star and Planet Formation, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
Received: 24 August 2015
Accepted: 19 November 2015
Context. The detailed composition of most metal-poor halo stars has been found to be very uniform. However, a fraction of 20−70% (increasing with decreasing metallicity) exhibit dramatic enhancements in their abundances of carbon; these are the so-called carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars. A key question for Galactic chemical evolution models is whether this non-standard composition reflects that of the stellar natal clouds or is due to local, post-birth mass transfer of chemically processed material from a binary companion; CEMP stars should then all be members of binary systems.
Aims. Our aim is to determine the frequency and orbital parameters of binaries among CEMP stars with and without over-abundances of neutron-capture elements – CEMP-s and CEMP-no stars, respectively – as a test of this local mass-transfer scenario. This paper discusses a sample of 24 CEMP-no stars, while a subsequent paper will consider a similar sample of CEMP-s stars.
Methods. High-resolution, low S/N spectra of the stars were obtained at roughly monthly intervals over a time span of up to eight years with the FIES spectrograph at the Nordic Optical Telescope. Radial velocities of ~100 m s-1 precision were determined by cross-correlation after each observing night, allowing immediate, systematic follow-up of any variable object.
Results. Most programme stars exhibit no statistically significant radial-velocity variation over this period and appear to be single, while four are found to be binaries with orbital periods of 300−2000 days and normal eccentricity; the binary frequency for the sample is 17 ± 9%. The single stars mostly belong to the recently identified low-C band, while the binaries have higher absolute carbon abundances.
Conclusions. We conclude that the nucleosynthetic process responsible for the strong carbon excess in these ancient stars is unrelated to their binary status; the carbon was imprinted on their natal molecular clouds in the early Galactic interstellar medium (ISM) by an even earlier external source, strongly indicating that the CEMP-no stars are likely bona fide second-generation stars. We discuss potential production sites for carbon and its transfer across interstellar distances in the early ISM, and the implications for the composition of high-redshift DLA systems.
Key words: Galaxy: formation / Galaxy: halo / stars: chemically peculiar / binaries: spectroscopic / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2016
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