13-17 June 2016
Niigata University (Ikarashi Campus)
Asia/Tokyo timezone

The Chemistry of the First Stars and the Origin of the Astrophysical r-Process

14 Jun 2016, 09:00
1h 30m
Library Hall, Central Library (Niigata University (Ikarashi Campus))

Library Hall, Central Library

Niigata University (Ikarashi Campus)

Central Library, Niigata University (Ikarashi Campus), 8050 Ikarashi 2-nocho, Nishi-ku Niigata City, 950-2181, Japan
Invited Lecture Beers


Prof. Timothy Beers (University of Notre Dame)


[1st Lecture] The very metal-poor (VMP; [Fe/H] < –2.0) and extremely metal-poor (EMP; [Fe/H] < –3.0) stars provide a direct view of Galactic chemical and dynamical evolution; detailed spectroscopic studies of these objects are the best way to identify and distinguish between various scenarios for the enrichment of early star-forming gas clouds soon after the Big Bang. It has been recognized that a large fraction of VMP (15-20%) and EMP stars (30-40%) possess significant over-abundances of carbon relative to iron, [C/Fe] > +0.7. Recent studies show that the majority of CEMP stars with [Fe/H]< –3.0 belong to the CEMP-no sub-class, characterized by the lack of strong enhancements in the neutron-capture elements ([Ba/Fe] < 0.0). The brightest EMP star in the sky, BD+44:493, with [Fe/H] = –3.8 and V = 9.1, is a CEMP-no star. It shares a common elemental-abundance signature with the recently discovered CEMP-no star having [Fe/H] < –7.8. The distinctive CEMP-no pattern has also been identified in high-z damped Lyman-alpha systems, and is common among stars in the ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies, such as SEGUE-1. These observations suggest that CEMP-no stars exhibit the nucleosynthesis products of the VERY first generation of stars. We discuss the lines of evidence that support this hypothesis, and describe current efforts to identify the nature of the massive stellar progenitors that produced these signatures. [2nd Lecture] There are presently some 25 highly r-process-element-enhanced metal-poor (r-II) stars known in the Galactic halo, roughly twenty years after their first recognition. These stars exhibit enhancements of their r-process-element to iron ratios, relative to Solar ratios, by a factor of 10 to 100+ ([r-element/Fe] > +1.0). Despite their very low metallicities ([Fe/H] < –2.0), these stars exhibit an apparently universal [r-element/Fe] pattern that is very well-matched to the Solar r-process pattern. As such, they have long been thought to provide fundamental information on the likely astrophysical site of the r-process. We describe a comparison of the observed properties of halo r-II stars with the remarkable recent detection of a large sample of r-II stars identified in the Ultra Faint Dwarf (UFD) galaxy Reticulum-II, and suggest that the UFD environment is the natural birthplace of essentially all r-II stars - due to their relative rarity, the clear overlap in metallicity of the field r-II stars with that of UFDs, and the observed range in the absolute abundances of r-process elements in such stars. Other recent observational constraints, including the demonstration that the formation of r-II stars does not rely on the presence of a binary companion, will be discussed.

Primary author

Prof. Timothy Beers (University of Notre Dame)

Presentation Materials