Chemical Abundance Analysis of Population II Stars : The Summary Includes a Background in General Astronomy

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: We are made of stardust in the sense that most atomic nuclei around us have been formed by stars. Stars synthesise new elements and expel them to the interstellar medium, from which later new generations of stars are born. We can map this chemical evolution by analysing the atmospheric contents of old Galactic halo stars. I have done two such investigations. A vigourous debate is going on whether the oxygen-to-iron ratio varies strongly with the general metal-content of halo stars. In my first study, I made an abundance analysis of 43 halo stars, and found no support for such a variation. I have also found that there probably is a cosmic spread in the abundances of oxygen, magnesium, silicon, and calcium relative to iron for halo stars. This may be an indication that the halo was built up by subsystems with differences in the star formation rate. In my second study, I performed a thorough abundance analysis of the star HE0338-3945, which is strangely overabundant in both r- and s-elements. Several other stars have been found with abundance patterns curiously similar to this star, and I define new criteria for the class r+s stars. The abundance similarities among the r+s stars suggest a common formation scenario. However, as the s-elements usually are considered to be produced in binary systems of low mass, and r-elements in supernovae of Type II, this scenario is not obvious. In the article I discuss seven hypotheses, and several of them are dismissed.

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