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On the Use of Field RR Lyrae as Galactic Probes. III. The $α$-element abundances

Crestani, J, Braga, VF, Fabrizio, M, Bono, G, Sneden, C, Preston, GW, Ferraro, I, Iannicola, G, Nonino, M, Fiorentino, G, Thévenin, F, Lemasle, B, Prudil, Z, Alves-Brito, A, Altavilla, G, Chaboyer, B, Dall'Ora, M, D'Orazi, V, Gilligan, CK, Grebel, E , Koch-Hansen, AJ, Lala, H, Marengo, M, Marinoni, S, Marrese, PM, Martínez-Vázquez, CE, Matsunaga, N, Monelli, M, Mullen, JP, Neeley, J, Silva, RD, Stetson, PB, Salaris, M, Storm, J, Valenti, E and Zoccali, M On the Use of Field RR Lyrae as Galactic Probes. III. The $α$-element abundances. Astronomy and Astrophysics. ISSN 0004-6361 (Accepted)

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Abstract

We provide the largest and most homogeneous sample of $\alpha$-element (Mg, Ca, Ti) and iron abundances for field RR Lyrae (RRLs, 162 variables) by using high-resolution spectra. The current measurements were complemented with similar abundances available in the literature for 46 field RRLs brought to our metallicity scale. We ended up with a sample of old (t$\ge$ 10 Gyr), low-mass stellar tracers (208 RRLs: 169 fundamental, 38 first overtone, 1 mixed mode) covering three dex in iron abundance (-3.00$\le$[Fe/H]$\le$0.24). We found that field RRLs are $\sim$0.3 dex more $\alpha$-poor than typical Halo tracers in the metal-rich regime, ([Fe/H]$\ge$-1.2) while in the metal-poor regime ([Fe/H]$\le$-2.2) they seem to be on average $\sim$0.1 dex more $\alpha$-enhanced. This is the first time that the depletion in $\alpha$-elements for solar iron abundances is detected on the basis of a large, homogeneous and coeval sample of old stellar tracers. Interestingly, we also detected a close similarity in the [$\alpha$/Fe] trend between $\alpha$-poor, metal-rich RRLs and red giants (RGs) in the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy as well as between $\alpha$-enhanced, metal-poor RRLs and RGs in ultra faint dwarf galaxies. These results are supported by similar elemental abundances for 46 field Horizontal Branch (HB) stars. These stars share with RRLs the same evolutionary phase and the same progenitors. This evidence further supports the key role that old stellar tracers play in constraining the early chemical enrichment of the Halo and, in particular, in investigating the impact that dwarf galaxies have had in the mass assembly of the Galaxy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.SR
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: EDP Sciences
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 08:08
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 05:31
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14932

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