Volume 644, December 2020
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||02 December 2020|
Jurassic: A chemically anomalous structure in the Galactic halo⋆
Institut Utinam, CNRS-UMR 6213, Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, OSU THETA Franche-Comté, Observatoire de Besançon, BP 1615, 251010 Besançon Cedex, France
2 Instituto de Astronomía y Ciencias Planetarias, Universidad de Atacama, Copayapu 485, Copiapó, Chile
3 Department of Physics and JINA Center for the Evolution of the Elements, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
4 Depto. de Cs. Físicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Andrés Bello, Av. Fernández Concha 700, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
5 Vatican Observatory, 00120 Vatican City State, Italy
Accepted: 20 October 2020
Detailed elemental-abundance patterns of giant stars in the Galactic halo measured by the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE-2) have revealed the existence of a unique and significant stellar subpopulation of silicon-enhanced ([Si/Fe] ≳ +0.5) metal-poor stars, spanning a wide range of metallicities (−1.5 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ −0.8). Stars with over-abundances in [Si/Fe] are of great interest because these have very strong silicon (28Si) spectral features for stars of their metallicity and evolutionary stage, offering clues about rare nucleosynthetic pathways in globular clusters (GCs). Si-rich field stars have been conjectured to have been evaporated from GCs, however, the origin of their abundances remains unclear, and several scenarios have been offered to explain the anomalous abundance ratios. These include the hypothesis that some of them were born from a cloud of gas previously polluted by a progenitor that underwent a specific and peculiar nucleosynthesis event or, alternatively, that they were due to mass transfer from a previous evolved companion. However, those scenarios do not simultaneously explain the wide gamut of chemical species that are found in Si-rich stars. Instead, we show that the present inventory of such unusual stars, as well as their relation to known halo substructures (including the in situ halo, Gaia-Enceladus, the Helmi Stream(s), and Sequoia, among others), is still incomplete. We report the chemical abundances of the iron-peak (Fe), the light- (C and N), the α- (O and Mg), the odd-Z (Na and Al), and the s-process (Ce and Nd) elements of 55 newly identified Si-rich field stars (among more than ∼600 000 APOGEE-2 targets), which exhibit over-abundances of [Si/Fe] as extreme as those observed in some Galactic GCs, and they are relatively well distinguished from other stars in the [Si/Fe]−[Fe/H] plane. This new census confirms the presence of a statistically significant and chemically-anomalous structure in the inner halo: Jurassic. The chemo-dynamical properties of the Jurassic structure is consistent with it being the tidally disrupted remains of GCs, which are easily distinguished by an over-abundance of [Si/Fe] among Milky Way populations or satellites.
Key words: Galaxy: structure / Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics / stars: abundances / stars: chemically peculiar / globular clusters: general / techniques: spectroscopic
Tables A.1–A.4 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/644/A83
© J. G. Fernández-Trincado et al. 2020
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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