The Hamburg/ESO R-process Enhanced Star survey (HERES) I. Project description, and discovery of two stars with strong enhancements of neutron-capture elements

N. Christlieb*, T. C. Beers, P. S. Barklem, M. Bessell, V. Hill, J. Holmberg, A. J. Korn, B. Marsteller, L. Mashonkina, Y. Z. Qian, S. Rossi, G. J. Wasserburg, F. J. Zickgraf, K. L. Kratz, B. Nordström, B. Pfeiffer, J. Rhee, S. G. Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    120 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We report on a dedicated effort to identify and study metal-poor stars strongly enhanced in r-process elements ([r/Fe] > 1 dex; hereafter r-II stars), the Hamburg/ESO R-process Enhanced Star survey (HERES). Moderate-resolution (∼2 Å) follow-up spectroscopy has been obtained for metal-poor giant candidates selected from the Hamburg/ESO objective-prism survey (HES) as well as the HK survey to identify sharp-lined stars with [Fe/H] < -2.5 dex. For several hundred confirmed metal-poor giants brighter than B ∼ 16.5 mag (most of them from the HES), "snapshot" spectra (R ∼ 20000; S/N ∼ 30 per pixel) are being obtained with VLT/UVES, with the main aim of finding the 2-3% r-II stars expected to be among them. These are studied in detail by means of higher resolution and higher S/N spectra. In this paper we describe a pilot study based on a set of 35 stars, including 23 from the HK survey, eight from the HES, and four comparison stars. We discovered two new r-II stars, CS 29497-004 ([Eu/Fe] = 1.64±0.22) and CS 29491-069 ([Eu/Fe] = 1.08±0.23). A first abundance analysis of CS 29497-004 yields that its abundances of Ba to Dy are on average enhanced by 1.5 dex with respect to iron and the Sun and match a scaled solar r-process pattern well, while Th is underabundant relative to that pattern by 0.3 dex, which we attribute to radioactive decay. That is, CS 29497-004 seems not to belong to the class of r-process enhanced stars displaying an "actinide boost", like CS 31082-001 (Hill et al. 2002), or CS 30306-132 (Honda et al. 2004b). The abundance pattern agrees well with predictions of the phenomenological model of Qian & Wasserburg.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1027-1037
    Number of pages11
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Volume428
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

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