Volume 631, November 2019
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||19 November 2019|
Neutron-capture elements in dwarf galaxies
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
3 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Konan University, 8-9-1 Okamoto, Kobe, Hyogo 658-8501, Japan
Accepted: 12 August 2019
The heavy elements (Z > 30) are created in neutron (n)-capture processes that are predicted to happen at vastly different nucleosynthetic sites. To study these processes in an environment different from the Milky Way, we targeted the n-capture elements in red giant branch stars in the Sculptor dwarf spheroidal galaxy. Using ESO VLT/FLAMES spectra, we measured the chemical abundances of Y, Ba, La, Nd, and Eu in 98 stars covering the metalliticy range −2.4 < [Fe/H] < −0.9. This is the first paper in a series about the n-capture elements in dwarf galaxies, and here we focus on the relative and absolute timescales of the slow (s)- and rapid (r)-processes in Sculptor. From the abundances of the s-process element Ba and the r-process element Eu, it is clear that the r-process enrichment occurred throughout the entire chemical evolution history of Sculptor. Furthermore, there is no evidence for the r-process to be significantly delayed in time relative to core-collapse supernovae. Neutron star mergers are therefore unlikely the dominant (or only) nucleosynthetic site of the r-process. However, the products of the s-process only become apparent at [Fe/H] ≈ −2 in Sculptor, and the s-process becomes the dominant source of Ba at [Fe/H] ≳ −2. We tested the use of [Y/Mg] and [Ba/Mg] as chemical clocks in Sculptor. Similarly to what is observed in the Milky Way, [Y/Mg] and [Ba/Mg] increase towards younger ages. However, there is an offset in the trends, where the abundance ratios of [Y/Mg] in Sculptor are significantly lower than those of the Milky Way at any given age. This is most likely caused by metallicity dependence of yields from the s-process, as well as by a different relative contribution of the s-process to core-collapse supernovae in these galaxies. Comparisons of our results with data of the Milky Way and the Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy furthermore show that these chemical clocks depend on both metallicity and environment.
Key words: stars: abundances / Galaxy: abundances / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: groups: individual: Sculptor / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: evolution
Tables B.1 and B.2 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/631/A171
© Á. Skúladóttir et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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